There are three main categories of anesthesia: general, regional and local.
During general anesthesia, you are unconscious and have no awareness or other sensations. There are a number of general anesthetic drugs—some are gases or vapors inhaled through a breathing mask or tube and others are medications introduced through a vein.
During regional anesthesia, your anesthesiologist makes an injection near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. You may remain awake or you may be given a sedative–either way, you do not see or feel the actual surgery taking place. There are several kinds of regional anesthesia; the two most common are spinal anesthesia and epidural anesthesia.
During local anesthesia, the anesthetic drug is usually injected into the tissue to numb just the specific location of your body requiring minor surgery.