What is the Anesthesia Care Team?
The care team consists of an anesthesiologist and an anesthetist who work together to provide the best medical care possible during surgery as well as safe and effective relief from pain during your Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) stay. An anesthesiologist interviews all patients preoperatively to discuss the most appropriate anesthetic management; the final decision will be based on your general health, the type and duration of your surgery and your preference. During your surgery, a member of the care team will be with you at all times to monitor your comfort and safety.
About My Anesthesia
You will be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery. This is to prevent you from vomiting while you are under the effect of the anesthesia. Vomiting can cause food in the stomach to be inhaled into the lungs. This can lead to serious breathing problems.
Take the drugs that your provider told you to take with a small sip of water.
Arrive at the hospital on time.
Please inform your anesthesiologist if you think you may be pregnant or if you had any recent changes in your health such as a cough, cold, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
What are the Risks of Anesthesia?
General anesthesia is usually safe for healthy people. However, as with all medical or surgical procedures anesthesia has inherent risks. You may have a higher risk of problems with general anesthesia if you abuse alcohol or other medications or if you have heart, lung, or kidney problems. Serious risks include harm to your vocal cords, heart attack, lung infection, mental confusion (temporary), stroke, trauma to the teeth or tongue, waking during anesthesia (rare) and death (extremely rare). Your anesthesiologist will talk to you about these risks and answer any questions you may have the morning of the surgery. Prior to surgery, you will be asked to read and sign an “informed consent” document detailing these risks. The care team is constantly monitoring your condition throughout surgery, and is prepared to deal with any anesthetic problems should they arise.
What Happens in the Recovery Room?
At the completion of surgery, you will be taken to the PACU to allow you to recover from your anesthetic while specially trained nurses monitor your vital signs, and make you as comfortable as possible. Your anesthesiologist is responsible for your safety in the recovery room and directs the nurses in the provision of your care. If your surgical procedure is being performed as an outpatient, your anesthesiologist is the physician who determines when you are ready to be discharged.
What about my Pain?
Unfortunately, surgical procedures are associated with some degree of pain. Your Anesthesiologist has an intricate knowledge relating to pain control following surgery and can help provide pain relief in multitude of ways. Multi-modal pain control with pain medications including anti-inflammatory medicines as well as different classes of narcotics are tailored for each individual before administration. In some instances, your surgeon may request the anesthesiologist to place an nerve “block”. This is usually done in the pre-operative area and will be discussed in detail with you the morning of the surgery. This involves using ultrasound guidance to place a small needle near the bundle of nerves the provides innervation to the area being operated on. This provides pain control that is far superior to pain medication alone. In certain thoracic or abdominal surgeries epidural analgesia may be requested by your surgeon. This involves placing a small catheter into the epidural space which lies just superficial to area where the nerves leave the spinal canal. This small catheter is then connected to a computer controlled pump which delivers an appropriate anesthetic mixture to control pain from the surgical site.