Breathing devices help anesthesiologists administer inhalational anesthetics. One breathing device is a mask. You may be asked to breathe some oxygen from a clear plastic face mask gently held near your face as you begin to sleep.

mask copy.JPG (20824 bytes)   facemask

Another breathing device is a laryngeal mask airway or LMA. This device is inserted after a patient has begun to sleep. It is put gently in the mouth and it’s soft rubber cuff inflated to surround the main passage for air – the trachea.

lma copy.JPG (16928 bytes)   laryngeal mask airway

Another device is called an endotracheal tube. It is a soft plastic tube that is inserted through the mouth and into the upper part of the trachea.

ettube copy.JPG (19153 bytes)   endotracheal tube

A sore throat and/or a little hoarseness is possible after the use of any of these devices, even if they are gently and skillfully. Both the LMA and the endotracheal tube are put in place only after patients are all the way asleep. They are most often removed before patients awaken.

Rarely after surgery, a patient may need breathing help from a machine called a ventilator. In this case the patient will keep the endotracheal tube in place while he uses the ventilator.