FAQs for Anesthesia
Pre-operative day-of expectations
We will ask you many questions in the pre-op area, some of which are repeated, to make sure we fully understand your medical history as well as make sure you are ready for your anesthesia and surgery. An IV is started for administering medications. You may also be given
some medication pills to swallow with a tiny sip of water.
Why should I not eat/drink/chew gum (NPO - nothing by mouth) before surgery?
It is safer to undergo anesthesia with an empty stomach. There is a risk of stomach contents going into your lungs (aspiration) under anesthesia and fasting helps reduce this risk.
Why do I need an IV?
An IV is necessary to administer many of the medications you will receive during your surgery,including anesthesia medications.
Who will do my anesthesia?
Anesthesia will be given by either an Anesthesiologist or a team consisting of a Nurse Anesthetist (Advanced RN, similar to a Nurse Practitioner) supervised by an Anesthesiologist. The anesthesia providers are part of US Anesthesia Partners, WA.
Process of anesthesia
The Anesthesiologist (Doctor) or Nurse Anesthetist will meet you in Pre-op to discuss your anesthesia. The OR team will take you back to the operating room, help you move to the OR bed, and place monitors to measure your vital signs. Next, you will be given the sedation/anesthesia that was agreed upon in the pre-op area for your surgical procedure. Once your procedure is done, you will be transferred to the recovery room for close monitoring until you are awake. You typically go home 1-2 hours after the surgery is over.
What type of anesthesia will I get?
Your Anesthesia provider will discuss the best type of anesthesia for you to feel safe and comfortable during your surgery. Sometimes, there is only one safe option. Other times, you may get a combination of two types.
• Local/Regional “Block” - Numbing medication (local anesthetic) is injected to block pain sensation for the surgical site.
• Monitored Anesthesia Care - Sedation to help you relax but you may or may not be completely “asleep”, there is a small possibility of remembering surgery.
• General Anesthesia - Completely “asleep” so you will not remember or feel anything during your surgery, usually with a breathing tube (intubated). Intubation is always a possibility. If local/regional or monitored anesthesia care are chosen, there is still a small risk of having to undergo (convert to) general anesthesia.
What are the side-effects of the anesthesia types?
There are many possible side effects to the medications you will receive for anesthesia. Some of the common side effects are listed below.
• Local/Regional “Block” - numbness, tingling, weakness/heaviness in the area/extremity usually for 12-48 hours.
• Monitored Anesthesia Care - nausea/vomiting/drowsiness
• General Anesthesia - sore throat, nausea/vomiting, headache, drowsiness
When can I eat?
You may slowly progress from drinking to eating as you become more awake after surgery and feel well enough to do so.
Will I need to take narcotics?
You will often receive narcotic/opiate pain medications in recovery. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medications if significant pain is anticipated after discharge. Please take them with food and plenty of fluids if not nauseated. Keep in mind that narcotics can cause nausea, sedation, and constipation.
When can I resume my activities after surgery?
Your surgeon should provide specific recovery instructions for after your procedure.