Your surgeon will discuss the surgical procedure that will be performed, including complications, length of surgery and recovery. Your surgeon will also schedule the operation, sometimes down to the hour.
With input from your physician, the anesthesiologist will determine the anesthetic type, which will be based on your medical condition. The surgeon’s office staff will coordinate with the anesthesia clinic for your pre-anesthetic testing.
Although most of your medical condition is documented in your chart, there are specific questions and a physical examination that are very important in determining the right anesthetic for you. This is the time to request laboratories, electrocardiograms and further consultations, such as cardiology and/or hematology evaluations when indicated.
After the pre-anesthetic visit, you will have a good idea of the type of anesthetic you will receive, including the risks and the chances of complications, type of pain treatment, medications you must continue or stop before your anesthetic and surgery, when to start fasting, and the exact time when you should arrive at the hospital. Usually patients are scheduled to visit several clinics, so be prepared to spend most of the day in the hospital. You will meet your anesthesiologist the day of surgery.
Usually patients are asked to arrive two hours before the scheduled surgery time so the paperwork, change of clothes and other procedures, such as an intravenous line, are completed. You will be in the Pre-Op holding area, where two family members or friends are allowed to stay until you leave for the operating suite.
We numb the skin with local anesthetics for your comfort before starting an intravenous line.
Anesthesia Monitors: Tools of Vigilance
Microchips, finger-cuff sensors, memory banks, tiny electrodes, glowing displays and thermometers made of liquid crystal are just some of the equipment anesthesiologists use to monitor your progress during and after surgery. Second-by-second observations of even the slightest changes in a range of body functions give anesthesiologists an extraordinary amount of information about a patient’s well-being. Monitoring is one of the important roles anesthesiologists handle during surgery.
What Are the Risks of Anesthesia?
All operations and anesthesias have risks, and they depend on factors including the type of surgery and the medical condition of the patient. Fortunately, adverse events are very rare. Your anesthesiologist takes precautions to prevent an accident from occurring just as you do when driving a car or crossing the street. You should ask your anesthesiologist about any risks that may be associated with your anesthesia.
Post Anesthesia Care Unit
After surgery, you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), or the recovery room, and closely watched for any immediate postoperative problems. When you meet the discharge criteria, which have been determined specifically for you based on your personal medical condition, the type of surgery and the criteria of the ambulatory surgical center, you will be released to go home with a family member or reliable friend. It is extremely important that you arrange for a responsible adult to take you home from the ambulatory surgical center because your coordination and reflexes may be impaired for at least 24 hours, making normal activities such as driving difficult.
When surgery is more extensive, your surgeon will decide if you will go from PACU to a regular ward. Sometimes patients may spend time in the Intensive Care Unit. Ask your surgeon about the possibility.