You Have Questions, We Have Answers

This is a short list of our most frequently asked questions.
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Anesthesia is a way to control pain during a surgery or procedure by using medicine called anesthetics. It can help control your breathing, blood pressure, blood flow, and heart rate and rhythm. Anesthesia is used to relax you, block pain, make you sleepy or forgetful or make you unconscious, for your surgery.

As part of preparing for a medical procedure requiring anesthesia, you will have an exam to check on your health and to identify any health risks that may affect your anesthesia care. Tell your anesthesia specialist about your health history, including any other surgeries you have had and any health problems. Be sure to tell the specialist if you are pregnant, if you smoke, or if you have alcohol or drug problems. Also let him or her know if you or a family member have had problems with anesthesia in the past. Prepare a list of all medicines that you take on a regular basis or have taken recently, including the dose. Be sure to include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and/or herbal products. Your anesthesia specialist will identify conditions you have that could affect your anesthesia care. He or she will closely watch your vital body functions to reduce potential complications.
The type of anesthesia used depends on several things:
  • Your past and current health. . This includes other surgeries you have had and the health problems you have, such as heart disease or diabetes. Tell your doctor if you or any family members have had a serious reaction to anesthetics or other medicines.
  • The type of surgery. You may need general anesthesia to ensure your comfort and safety during certain types of surgery.
  • The results of tests, such as blood tests or an electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG).
Your doctor or nurse may prefer one type of anesthesia over another for your surgery. In some cases, your doctor or nurse may let you choose which type to have. Sometimes, such as in an emergency, you don't get to choose.
You should refrain from eating at least eight hours before your scheduled procedure in order to reduce side effects related to an aspiration. An aspiration is when stomach contents are expelled into the lungs and can cause significant damage. You can protect yourself from an aspiration by carefully following preoperative instructions regarding food and drink. You will be given specific instructions about eating and drinking by the nurse who contacts you the day before your surgery.
Your anesthesiologist will do everything he or she can to keep you comfortable following surgery. You will be closely monitored by physicians, nurses, and other medical staff throughout your time in the recovery room to help ensure the safest and most comfortable recovery.