Difference Between Local and General Anesthesia (With Table)

Anesthesia can be of many different types. One is the injection of local anesthesia that is used to numb just one particular area like finger or tooth another is general anesthesia which, when given, causes the loss of consciousness for a limited period of time.

These anesthesia are provided by specialist doctors who are anesthetics that are also supported by a team of nurses and resident surgeons apart from the local anesthesia as it can be provided by anyone. In simpler and convenient words, anesthesia could be defined as a loss of sensations.

Local vs General Anesthesia

The difference between local and general anesthesia is that local anesthesia is used when only some part of the body has to numb like a finger or tooth, while in general anesthesia whole body is numbed, and the patient is totally unconscious for some period of time. General anesthesia is usually used for some serious operations or surgeries.

Local anesthesia numbs just a small particular area or part of the body so that it can be operated on. Generally, it is used when the nerves of that part are easy to reach via some drops, ointments, sprays, or even injections. During this procedure, after the injection of local anesthesia, you stay conscious, but that area is free from pain as that has been numbed.

General anesthesia is used when there is something serious to be operated on or a big surgery. After the general anesthesia, the patient undergoes total unconsciousness during which they feel nothing and wakes up after a period of time. In fact, when you are anesthetized, you will have literally zero memory of that time.

Comparison Table Between Local and General Anesthesia

Parameters of ComparisonLocal AnesthesiaGeneral Anesthesia
What are theyLocal anesthesia numbs just a small particular area or part of the body so that it can be operated on.General anesthesia is used when there is something serious to be operated on or a big surgery.
NumbnessLocal anesthesia numbs a particular part of the body that has to be operated on.General anesthesia numbs the whole body making the patient unconscious.
ExamplesTooth removal, surgery for an ingrowing toenail that often occurs with people, and some minor eye surgeries.Operating in the heart, lungs, and abdomen, and the most important ones in the brain.
Ways of injectionIt can be injected via ointments, sprays, or injections.General anesthesia is injected in two ways. One is injecting the anesthetic medicine through the veins, and the other is anesthetic gas that can be smelled by the person.
EffectsIt numbs a particular portion of the body for some time.The patient loses consciousness for some period of time.

What is Local Anesthesia?

Local anesthesia numbs just a small particular area or part of the body so that it can be operated on. Generally, it is used when the nerves of that part are easy to reach via some drops, ointments, sprays, or even injections. During this procedure, after the injection of local anesthesia, you stay conscious, but that area is free from pain as that has been numbed.

Some common examples of surgeries where local anesthesia is used are tooth removal, surgery for an ingrowing toenail that often occurs with people, and some minor eye surgeries. Here, total unconsciousness of the patient is not required, and the surgery can be done by just numbing that particular portion of the body. The local anesthesia numbs that portion so that the patient does not feel any pain during the whole process.

What is General Anesthesia?

General anesthesia is used when there is something serious to be operated on or a big surgery. After the general anesthesia, the patient undergoes total unconsciousness during which they feel nothing and wakes up after a period of time. In fact, when you are anesthetized, you will have literally zero memory of that time.

General anesthesia is used in a wide range of surgeries like while operating in the heart, lungs, and abdomen, and the most important ones in the brain. There are two different ways of giving general anesthesia to someone. One is injecting the anesthetic medicine through the veins, and the other is anesthetic gas that can be smelled by the person. The anesthetic medicine temporarily stops the brain from responding to any outside message traveling from the veins of the body.

Main Differences Between Local and General Anesthesia

  1. The main difference between local and general anesthesia is that A local anesthesia numbs just a small particular area or part of the body so that it can be operated on, while General anesthesia is used when there is something serious to be operated on or a big surgery.
  2. Local anesthesia numbs a particular part of the body that has to be operated on, but General anesthesia numbs the whole body making the patient unconscious.
  3. Examples of surgeries where local anesthesia is used are tooth removal, surgery for an ingrowing toenail that often occurs with people, and some minor eye surgeries and Examples where general anesthesia is used are operating in the heart, lungs, and abdomen and most important ones in the brain.
  4. Local anesthesia can be injected via ointments, sprays, or injections, while General anesthesia is injected in two ways. One is injecting the anesthetic medicine through the veins, and the other is anesthetic gas that can be smelled by the person.
  5. Local anesthesia numbs a particular portion of the body for some time, while in general anesthesia, the patient loses consciousness for some period of time.

Conclusion

It is now concluded that both general and local anesthesia is given to numb the body or the particular portion of the body. Both of them act as medicine for the numbness to not feel the pain while the surgery.

General anesthesia is used when there is something serious to be operated on or a big surgery. Local anesthesia numbs just a small particular area or part of the body so that it can be operated on. The anesthetic medicine temporarily stops the brain from responding to any outside message traveling from the veins of the body.

References

  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM197205042861805
  2. https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/abs/10.1289/ehp.9087199
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