What is the role of anesthesia during the insertion of a laryngeal mask airway (LMA)?

Updated: Dec 28, 2018
  • Author: Nichole Bosson, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Laryngeal mask airway (LMA) insertion is facilitated by sedation. Propofol (Diprivan) or midazolam (Versed) are acceptable choices. [5]  For elective ventilation in the operating room, less anesthesia is typically required for insertion and maintenance of the LMA than for endotracheal intubation. [5]  In the emergency setting, the patient is often obtunded or unconscious, and further sedation may not be necessary for LMA insertion. The risk of inadequate sedation is triggering laryngospasm. For more information, see Procedural Sedation.

Paralysis is not necessary for LMA insertion and maintenance.

Movement and coughing upon insertion should be particularly avoided in patients who are at risk for cervical spine injuries; therefore, adequate anesthesia is particularly important in these patients.

Children may require deeper anesthesia.

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