Forty million to 50 million surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year, and most involve some form of anesthesia. Options include general anesthesia (you're out), intravenous-monitored sedation (you don't feel pain but aren't completely asleep), local anesthesia (numbs a specific area), and regional anesthesia (numbs a larger area).
People get nervous about "going under," but it's important to know that while in the 1960s and 1970s, one in 10,000 or 20,000 surgery patients would die from issues related to anesthesia, today it's very rare. More like one in every 200,000 patients.
Nonetheless, it may be good to pay more attention to how your anesthesiologist (I'm board certified as one) is attending to your procedure.
A study in JAMA Surgery looked at data from more than 570,000 surgical cases in the U.S. between 2010 to 2017, and the researchers found there were instances when anesthesiologists were assigned three or four overlapping surgeries, and in those cases the complication and death rate was 14% greater than in surgeries where the case load was limited to one or two procedures.
While anesthesia is safer than ever, the researchers suggest that if you're having a high-risk surgery or are a medically complex patient, you should make sure to ask ahead of time about your anesthesia teams’ care processes.
If it doesn't suit you, ask for a full explanation of how your surgery is made as safe as possible, discuss alternatives with your surgeon, or inquire about other surgical settings where you can get one-on-one care from an anesthesiologist.