You will be taken care of by an anesthetist, a nurse anesthetist, or a combined care team.
Each patient should be given his or her own instructions. Please note that if you eat or drink when you were not supposed to, you could markedly increase the risks of anesthesia. Please follow your instructions very carefully.
Some medications should be taken and others should not. It is important to discuss this with your physicians.
You must make arrangements for a responsible adult to take you home after your surgery. You will not be able to drive yourself home. You may not be alone the first 24 hours.
Many patients are apprehensive about anesthesia and surgery. If you are well informed, you will be better prepared and more relaxed. Talk with your anesthetist and ask questions. Your anesthetist is your advocate and is experienced in making your surgery and recovery as safe and comfortable as possible.
What to expect
In addition to pain medications, we offer several nerve blocks for some types of surgery. Most blocks can be performed in the preoperative area under mild sedation and are tolerated very well. Your anesthesia team will discuss a nerve block if one is available for your type of surgery. A nerve block or blocks are available for surgery on your shoulder, arms, hands, legs, knees, ankles. Eligible types of surgery include broken bones, shoulder surgery, tears in tendons. An injection placed under ultrasound guidance can mostly reduce or completely eliminate the pain of surgery for 8 to 24 hours, or longer. Many times, no additional pain medicine is needed in the recovery room. Nausea and vomiting risk is also reduced or eliminated. Some surgeries require that we perform a block in order to be able to do the surgery in a same day surgery center (without you having to spend a night in the hospital due to pain).
Your anesthetist or nurse anesthetist will interview you prior to the procedure. This usually takes place on the day of surgery, but for special reasons some interviews will be initiated before the day of surgery. The anesthetist will ask questions about your medical history and review any laboratory tests that have been done. You and your anesthetist together will then formulate an anesthetic plan. You will discuss anesthetic choices including risks and benefits. The anesthetic plan will be tailored specifically for you by taking into account your general medical condition, the type of surgical procedure and your preferences. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss any concerns that you may have with your anesthetist.
In the Operating Room
In the operating room, your anesthetist is uniquely qualified and personally responsible for directing your anesthetic. Anesthetist are medical specialists who ensure your comfort and make informed medical decisions to protect you. Your physical status is closely monitored. Vital functions such as heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, temperature and breathing are managed. A member of the anesthesia care team will be with you throughout your procedure.
Recovery After Surgery
You will be taken to the post-anesthetic care unit, often called the recovery room. Your anesthetist will direct the monitoring and medications to ensure your safe recovery. Your vital functions will be closely monitored by specially trained nurses. Medications to minimize postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting are given as needed. Nausea and vomiting tend to be less of a problem today because of improved anesthetic agents and techniques although it still occurs quite often. When you are ready, you will be offered something to drink. A family member or friend may be allowed to be with you, and you will be assisted in getting up. Most patients are ready to go home between 1-2 hours after surgery. Oral and written instructions will be given. You will also be given a telephone number to call if you have any concerns when you get home. In general, for the first 24 hours after your anesthesia:
- Do not drink alcohol or use nonprescription medication
- Do not drive a car or operate dangerous machinery
- Do not make important decisions
- You may not be left alone that first day
Be prepared to go home and continue your recovery there. Patients may experience drowsiness or minor side effects such as muscle aches, sore throat, headaches and mild nausea. These usually decline rapidly in the hours following surgery. Most patients do not feel up to their usual activities the next day. Plan to take it easy for a few days. The following business day you will be contacted to see how you feel and if there are any problems.