DEAR DOCTOR K: I have a minor surgical procedure coming up. Will I have any say in the type of anesthesia the doctor uses?
DEAR READER: For some surgical procedures, more than one type of anesthesia may be appropriate. The doctor who will administer the anesthesia (the anesthesiologist) will talk to you about the options. I spoke to Dr. Kristin Schreiber, an anesthesiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. She explained that anesthesia has four goals. The first is to make sure you have no pain; the second is to make you drowsy or unconscious. The third is to keep your body still during the procedure -- you don't want your surgeon to have to deal with a moving target. And finally, the fourth is to prevent bad memories of the procedure.