Anesthesia means a loss of feeling
or inability to feel pain. Local anesthesia is a method of pain prevention in a
small area of the body. The medication used is commonly called numbing
Who is a candidate for the procedure?
Anyone who undergoes a painful procedure may be a candidate for local
anesthesia. This type of anesthesia is usually used for minor procedures.
Examples are getting sutures for a
cut or having a tooth pulled. Local anesthesia can also be used for minor
surgery, such as a hernia repair.
How is the procedure performed?
Local numbing medication is injected into the skin or other surface at the site
of the procedure. The injection is usually near the surface, but may be deeper
in some cases.
The site of the procedure is first cleaned with an antibacterial cleanser. The
medication used to numb the area is then injected using a very small needle.
The medication may cause a stinging or burning sensation at first. This
discomfort lasts for just a few seconds.
It takes a few minutes for the medication to have its full effect. The person
should be unable to feel pain in the treated area. A pressure sensation may be felt
when the area is cut or poked with needles. But pain should be absent. If pain
is felt, the person should tell the healthcare provider. More medication can be
injected to control pain.
If a person is anxious, sedative medication can be given. The sedative may be a
pill or may be given through an intravenous
line (IV) inserted into the vein of the arm or hand. This medication can
help the person relax. The numbing medication generally wears off within an
hour of the procedure.