GENERAL ANESTHESIA QUESTIONS:
What does my anesthesia provider do?
Your anesthesia provider makes sure your vital signs – blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and oxygen levels – are stable throughout the surgery. He or she also manages your level of consciousness and sleep during the procedure. If you encounter a problem during surgery (blood loss, changes in blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, and many others), your anesthesiologist will work to correct the problem. Intermountain Anesthesiology providers are experts on developing the best way to approach anesthesia for your specific operation.
What are the risks associated with anesthesia?
The Department of Anesthesiology has made great strides in advancing anesthesia safety for orthopedic surgery patients. Based on your specific needs, your anesthesiologist will develop a comprehensive anesthetic plan before, during, and after surgery. Before surgery, please speak with your anesthesiologist about any concerns you have about anesthesia and pain management. Common side effects include headache, pain at the injection site, and nausea and vomiting. Many of these risks are mitigated through our anesthetic approaches, more specifically regional anesthesia.
Will I be able to meet my anesthesia provider prior to surgery?
You will meet your anesthesia provider the day of the operation before surgery. If you have any questions or concerns related to your anesthesia, you are welcome to contact the Department to arrange for a pre-anesthetic consultation.
Can I request a specific anesthesia provider?
Although we cannot promise a specific anesthesiologist to you before surgery, we do consider patients’ preferences. If you have had a positive experience with a provider in the past and would like to request them again, we will do what we can to arrange for that request. To request the same anesthesia provider, please contact your surgeon's office or the Department in the days leading up to your surgery. Your anesthesia provider will be assigned to you the day before surgery. Many factors go into determining an anesthesia provider for each patient or procedure, but the most important consideration is matching our provider's specific clinical expertise with your medical history and procedure type. While our expert staff is highly trained and an expert in his/her field, some have developed particular areas of interest and clinical expertise. For example, several anesthesia providers specialize in pediatric anesthesia and these physicians care for the vast majority of pediatric patients.
What is an anesthesia technician?
An anesthesia technician, often called an anesthesia tech, is a key member of the perioperative team. An anesthesia tech oversees and masters all of the anesthetic equipment the perioperative team uses – from ultrasound machines to monitors that display critical information about the progress of the procedure – and manages the safekeeping, maintenance, and troubleshooting of these technologies. An anesthesia tech is vital in improving anesthesia care by ensuring all of our cutting-edge technology, equipment, and instruments are up-to-date and working soundly.
Will my pain medications cause problems for anesthesia?
You should discuss your medications with your physician at your preoperative medical clearance appointment or with your surgeon before surgery. All patients scheduled for ambulatory surgery will be contacted by a nurse on the afternoon or evening before surgery – you should ask about your medications then. If your medication questions are not answered by the day of surgery, you should bring your medications with you.
Will my sleep apnea impact anesthesia?
If you know that you have sleep apnea, please alert your surgeon, anesthesiologist, and the hospital staff before surgery. If you have special home equipment for sleep apnea, such as nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, please bring it with you to the hospital on the day of surgery.
Can I eat before surgery?
You will be given specific instructions about eating and drinking by the nurse who contacts you the day before your surgery. You should refrain from eating at least eight hours before your scheduled procedure to reduce side effects related to an aspiration. An aspiration is when stomach contents are expelled into the lungs and can cause significant damage. You can protect yourself from an aspiration by carefully following preoperative instructions regarding food and drink.
Can my allergies interfere with anesthesia?
It is vital to inform your anesthesia provider of any allergies you may have. Your providers need to know what you are allergic to and how you react to those allergens. At the time of your admission, a color-coded wristband will be given to you to indicate to your caregivers that you have an allergy.
Am I going to be asleep during my surgery?
While general anesthesia requires complete unconsciousness and the assistance of a machine for breathing, regional anesthesia techniques have several levels of sedation. Your surgeon and anesthesia provider determine the type of anesthesia and your level of sedation. In many cases, your anesthetic can be customized to meet your expectations. Many of the sedatives your anesthesia provider will use can cause amnesia, and although you may be awake and conversant during the procedure, you may have no recollection of these events later.
Am I going to wake up during surgery?
It is extremely rare to wake up during surgery under general anesthesia. Depending on the anesthetic technique and the amount and type of drugs that are administered by your anesthesiologists, you may be able to choose from being wide awake to fully asleep during your procedure.
Will I be in pain after my surgery?
Your anesthesiologist will do everything he or she can to keep you comfortable following surgery. You will be closely monitored by physicians, nurses, and other medical staff throughout your time in the recovery room to help ensure a safe and comfortable recovery.
Will anesthesia make me throw up?
Your anesthesia provider will review your case to see if you are a candidate for regional anesthesia. Patients who undergo regional anesthesia are less likely to report feelings of nausea or vomiting following surgery. If you have a history of nausea and vomiting following surgery or a history of motion sickness, please talk to your anesthesia provider before surgery. He or she will make necessary adjustments to the anesthetic plan to ensure the best approach to keep you comfortable and safe throughout your stay.
When can I see my family after surgery?
After your procedure, you will be moved to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Once you are stable and/or awake, family visits may be allowed to visit for a short time. Your family will have to check with nursing staff about the exact time frames allowed. Pediatric patients are permitted to see up to two parents or guardians upon arrival in the PACU. Ultimately, visitation is decided by the nursing staff in the PACU.
Will my insurance cover anesthesia care?
Like charges from your surgeon, your anesthesiology fees are not included in your hospital bill. Many insurance plans cover our charges in full but some do not. While all of our physicians participate with Medicare and Medicaid, they may not participate with your specific insurance plan. To obtain information about your particular insurance plan, we recommend that you contact your insurer.