Answers for Patients

Please click on a question below to view the answer.

What is anesthesia?

Anesthesia is the state of freedom from sensation and is created by special medicines. Anesthesia is called general anesthesia when it involves the whole body and you are completely asleep. When only part of the body is made numb, it is called a nerve block or regional anesthesia.

How long does anesthesia last?

Anesthesia is controlled to last as long as your operation or procedure. This can be just a few minutes or several hours.

Who gives you the anesthesia?

Anesthesia is delivered by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) or an anesthesiologist (a doctor who is a specialist in anesthesia) or by the Anesthesia Care Team. The Anesthesia Care Team is comprised of the CRNA in collaboration with the anesthesiologist. An anesthesiologist is a private doctor, just like your surgeon, who acts as your consultant. You will meet your anesthesiologist or Anesthesia Care Team prior to entering the operating room to answer your questions and plan your anesthetic. The CRNA or anesthesiologist or your Anesthesia Care Team will be with you at all times during your operation, adjusting the amount of anesthesia you receive and watching over your well-being.

What anesthetics are used?

A great many anesthetic drugs are now available. Each has special properties that make it best for particular operations and patients. The best anesthetic will be chosen after careful study of your condition and the needs of your operation.

What additional care is provided by the anesthesiologist and CRNA?

The anesthesiologist and CRNA in addition to providing you anesthesia drugs, take steps to maintain you safely through surgery. Your breathing, blood pressure, and pulse are appropriately maintained. Intravenous fluids are delivered and your vital signs are continually monitored throughout your surgery or procedure. Your recovery from anesthesia is carefully monitored and medications are provided to relieve any discomfort you may have.

When will you wake up?

You will awaken shortly after your operation is over. But you may not remember this period because the drugs you receive can cause a lapse of memory for several hours.

Will you be nauseated after surgery?

Today most people are not nauseated after surgery. However, anesthesia or surgery can make some people nauseated. Such nausea should not last long, and you can be given medicine to help control it. Remember that other drugs you may need, such as pain medicine, may make you nauseated, and this is not related to anesthesia.

Will you have a sore throat?

Fluids are withheld prior to surgery, which may cause drying of the throat. Sometimes it is necessary to place a tube in your windpipe to assist your breathing throughout the surgery. Either of these things can cause a sore throat that is usually relieved by fluids or simple gargle solutions taken after surgery.

Risks of anesthesia?

Today, anesthesia is very safe - probably safer than riding in an automobile. But there are some risks. Your anesthesiologist can discuss these with you when you meet. Any medical conditions you may have will be carefully reviewed prior to the delivery of your anesthetic.

Questions about your bill?

Click here for a printer friendly version of this page