Anesthesia Services, P.C. - Services

Modern anesthesia is a relatively safe and uneventful means of providing pain relief during and after surgery. There are three principal types of anesthesia: general, regional and local.

General anesthesia causes you to lose consciousness with the administration of intravenous drugs and/or inhaled gases. Regional anesthesia blocks feeling to a section of your body while you remain awake. You may however be slightly sedated. Spinal and epidural anesthesia are in this category, as are  peripheral nerve blocks of the arms and legs. These methods can also be used to help manage post-operative pain as well as provide anesthesia for surgery. Local anesthesia affects only the specific location of the surgery.  Generally, you may remain awake for a local anesthetic.

Unless your surgeon has requested that we interview you in advance to provide pre-operative clearance, one of our anesthesiologists will meet with you just before your surgery to discuss your health history and current medical status. You should be prepared to explain to the anesthesiologist at that time about any medical problems and any medications you are taking. You should also be prepared to tell him/her about any dietary supplements or herbal products. You should inform whether you drink alcohol, smoke tobacco or if you take any other drugs, legal or otherwise. It is important to be completely honest in answering these questions because these things can have a significant impact in the way medications interact or work in your body.

It is also important for females to let the anesthesiologist know if there is any possibility of pregnancy. If you, or others in your family, have experienced problems with anesthesia in the past, it is a good idea to let your anesthesiologist know. Finally, if you have allergies, or have experienced allergic reactions, to anything, you should let your anesthesiologist know.

After reviewing this information, the anesthesiologist will discuss your options for anesthesia during your surgery. At that time he/she will explain any of the pertinent risk factors and you will have an opportunity to ask questions. If you have specific questions or concerns about your medical condition or operation prior to the day of surgery, please discuss them with your surgeon. He/She can determine whether or not an advance pre-operative interview should be arranged with one of our anesthesiologists.

You should not eat or drink anything for at least eight (8) hours before your surgery. You should also refrain from smoking. If you are having ambulatory surgery, you should have someone ready to drive you home and to stay with you at home during the first twenty-four (24) hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an anesthesiologist? (Top)

Anesthesiologists are physicians who have specialized training in providing pain control and caring for the general well-being of the patient in the operating room. They monitor your vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, etc.), administer medications to ease pain and avoid recall, monitor your fluids and act as your advocate while you are unable to do so for yourself. S/he will monitor and record all of these things and make adjustments as necessary (and in accordance with your pre-identified preferences) to provide you with the safest and most comfortable outcome possible. At a minimum, anesthesiologists have completed four years of college, four years of medical school and four years of internship/residency before starting to practice in our group. Many of our anesthesiologists have completed additional training and fellowships in such areas as chronic pain management, pediatrics, cardiothoracic and obstetric anesthesia.

What is informed consent? (Top)

Informed consent means that you have been presented with your treatment options and that the most common risks and possible side effects have been explained. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and, if you wish to proceed with anesthesia, to sign an informed consent indicating that this process has occurred. Clearly, in extreme emergencies it may be necessary to waive this step.

Can I request the type of anesthesia I want? (Top)

In some cases, multiple options may be medically appropriate. Your anesthesiologist will discuss with you risk factors and options for a safe anesthetic.

Why can’t I eat or drink before the anesthetic? (Top)

There is a risk of aspiration if there is anything in the stomach when anesthesia is given. Aspiration means that the contents of the stomach end up in the lungs and this can be life-threatening. This is why it is most important to follow the instructions given and to tell your anesthesiologist if you have had anything to eat or drink (including a sip of water or coffee) during the time period for which they ask.

Will I need to receive blood during my surgery? (Top)

The answer to this question depends upon the type of surgery you are having and your medical condition. Often the need for a blood transfusion is known before the surgery. Sometimes unexpected events occur during surgery and the need for an emergency transfusion may arise. If you have personal beliefs against, or concerns about, this possibility, you should be sure to discuss this with your anesthesiologist during the pre-operative interview. Your anesthesiologist recognizes the seriousness of blood transfusion. Patients only receive blood when it becomes the treatment option necessary for the well being of the patient.

Why do I have to remove my jewelry for surgery? (Top)

This is not an anesthetic concern but your surgeon may need to use a special instrument to stop bleeding during your surgery. If you are wearing metal jewelry that is in contact with your skin, it could cause an electrical burn in the area.

Will I wake up during my surgery? (Top)

Awareness under anesthesia is an extremely rare event, but not an impossible one. In most instances, your anesthesiologist is able to give you sufficient medications to eliminate this possibility.  

What will happen when I wake up after surgery? (Top)

You will be monitored for a period of time in the recovery room, where they will continue to give medication to assist with your pain. Side effects such as nausea and vomiting continue to be a possibility within the first 24-48 hours following surgery, although a number of newer drugs have significantly reduced the incidence of these side effects. Some people, however, are more prone to these symptoms and will therefore have to be monitored for a longer period of time.

Will there be other side effects? (Top)

It is not uncommon to have a sore throat for a few days, especially if you had a breathing tube placed. Dental injuries are also a possibility, especially if you have been less diligent about preventive dental care and/or have artificial dental devices such as caps or bridges. This is not necessarily related to anything that the anesthesiologist did. In some instances, it may be impossible to insert a breathing tube quickly, especially in someone with a small mouth, without touching any teeth. Just as frequently, dental injuries may occur during the “wake-up” phase, when you may roll over or bite down on a tooth that is fragile, causing it to crack or break. Again, these situations are rare, but certainly not impossible.

What are the other risks? (Top)

As with any other medical procedure, results cannot be guaranteed. Unexpected reactions or complications may occur. Patients with apparently similar medical conditions may have varying responses to certain anesthetics or procedures. Possible risks include, but are not limited to allergic reactions; infection; pneumonia; inflammation of the veins; nerve injury or paralysis; damage to or failure of the heart, liver, kidneys and/or brain; and death. These more severe complications are highly unlikely but can occur in some cases, regardless of the experience, care and skill of the anesthesia provider.

What are your privacy policies with regard to my medical information? (Top)

Since all medical information is retained by the facilities where we practice, we follow the privacy policies of those facilities. If you go to the facilities section of this website, you will find a link to each of the facilities where we practice and can download the privacy policies from there.

 

   
   
   
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