Some minor surgical procedures (for example: breast biopsies, eyelid surgery, some hernia surgeries) can be done with the combination of local anesthesia plus intravenous sedation. Prior to beginning anesthesia, the anesthesiologist places monitors of blood pressure, electrocardiogram, pulse and oxygen saturation of the blood. The anesthesiologist is present for the entire surgery, and administers intravenous sedatives as required for the patient’s comfort and the surgeon’s needs. The level of conscieusness can be controlled from awake but relaxed, to light sleep with minimal chance of awareness. If the sedation is deep enough, the intravenous sedation will be termed general anesthesia. While the patient is sedated, the surgeon usually injects local anesthetics into the surgical site to block both surgical and post operative pain.

Vigilance by an anesthesiologist during intravenous sedation is also known as Monitored Anesthetic Care, or MAC.
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