Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC)

Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) is the intravenous administration of mild sedatives to help a patient relax and relieve anxiety during minor procedures that do not require general anesthesia. These procedures, such as biopsies and colonoscopies, typically require the injection of a local anesthetic to numb the surgical site.

This is different from general anesthesia because you remain breathing on your own during the procedure and do not have a breathing tube. Your doctor will monitor you throughout the procedure just the same as he or she would during general anesthesia.

What is the purpose?

The purpose of MAC anesthesia is to provide the patient with relief of discomfort and anxiety associated with the procedure. Although you will be able to respond to your doctors and nurses during the procedure, the medicines you receive will likely lead to you not remembering the procedure.

What procedures is it used for?

MAC anesthesia is used for uncomfortable procedures or minor surgeries that do not usually require general anesthesia. Examples of these are upper endocoscopy and colonoscopy, procedures done under radiologic guidance, and minor surgeries for which the patient needs to lie still for more that a few minutes.

What are the benefits?

The medicines used for MAC anesthesia work quickly and also wear off quickly. They allow for you to undergo the procedure in a safe manner. When the procedure is done, most patients are awake quickly afterward and do not get some of the side effects commonly associated with general anesthesia, such as nausea and feeling sleepy.

MAC (Monitored Anesthesia Care) is also referred to as Twilight Sleep.


IMPORTANT REMINDER: This information is intended only to provide general guidance. It does not provide definitive medical advice. It is very important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.