Anesthesia is a drug induced loss of bodily sensation with or without a loss of consciousness.
People have different responses to anesthesia. It is very important to follow all instructions to ensure your safety. Below you will find some general guidelines to prepare for your experience with anesthesia.
Before Your Surgery
You will meet with an anesthesiologist before your surgery to discuss the type of anesthesia that will be best for you and your particular surgery. Write down any questions and bring them with you. Be prepared to talk about your recent health history (colds, flu, etc), chronic medical condition (heart disease, diabetes, etc), prescription and over the counter medications you are taking, allergies, and past experiences with anesthesia. If you are pregnant, there are many options available that may be discussed prior to surgery.
Kinds of Anesthesia
General Anesthesia. This is used for major surgeries and affects the entire body. You will be given medications to help you relax and fall asleep. Anesthesia will be administered by the anesthesia specialist. Some general anesthesia is administered intravenously. This means that the anesthetic will be injected into your bloodstream through a thin tube placed in a vein in your arm or hand. General anesthesia may also be administered as a gas. This is administered through a face mask. Your lungs transfer the gas to the bloodstream. Once you are “asleep” the face mask may be replaced by a tube that will be gently inserted through your mouth to the windpipe.
When surgery is complete, the anesthesia specialist will give you other medications to help you regain consciousness. Like many medical procedures, general anesthesia involves some risk. But, your anesthesia specialist will monitor you carefully. With modern equipment, anesthesia is safer than ever before.
Regional and Local Anesthesia
Regional and local anesthesias affect only part of the body. They are used for less complex procedures. The anesthetic is injected by the anesthesia specialist/surgeon and you will feel numbness in the affected area almost immediately. With regional anesthesia a part of your body will be affected, such as an arm or a leg and with local, just the area involving the procedure. With a regional anesthetic, you may be given medication to help you relax or sleep. Local and regional anesthesias have few risks, but reactions are possible. Be sure to discuss any risks with your anesthesia specialist.
After your procedure
Following surgery, you will be moved to a recovery area while the anesthesia wears off and until your anesthesia specialist determines that it is safe to be released. You will be checked regularly for vital signs (breathing rate, blood pressure, etc). If necessary you will be given oxygen, intravenous fluids and pain medication. You may experience some side effects such as numbness, tingling, nausea, backache or headache. Tell the nurses how you feel–they can provide relief. You may be asked to cough and breathe deeply to clear your lungs and you may also be encouraged to move your arms and legs. If you are going home the same day, follow these precautions for at least 24 hours. Do not drive, operate machinery or make important decisions as your coordination and judgment will not be at their best. Do not smoke or take any medications, supplements or other remedies without consulting your health care provider. Do not drink alcohol as it can interfere with the anesthetics still in your body. Have someone stay with you and take it easy!
Call (724)627-2502 with any questions you may have.