What is anesthesia?
Anesthesia is the loss of sensation and/or consciousness by the use of medications and close monitoring. It provides comfort and maintains vital life functions during surgery and other medical procedures.
Anesthesia is used to relax (sedate) you, block pain sensations (analgesia and anesthesia), induce sleepiness and forgetfulness (amnesia) or make you unconscious for your surgery. The anesthetic option chosen for your individual procedure will be based on your physical condition in collaboration with your surgeon. According to a 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine, anesthesia care today is nearly 50 times safer than it was 20 years ago.
How do you prepare for anesthesia?
Your surgeon or nurse will give you a list of instructions before surgery. In addition, a nurse from the Surgery Center will contact you to perform a brief interview and answer any questions you may have. Based on your surgeon’s recommendations, do not eat or drink for a certain length of time before the surgery. The amount of time depends on your medical condition and the type of anesthesia that will be used. If you take any medications regularly, ask your surgeon or anesthesia provider whether you should take your medication on the day before or on the day of your surgery.
You will need to give written consent for surgery, and anesthesia, as well as to receive other necessary medications. Your surgeon will explain why your surgery is needed, what it will involve, its risks and expected outcome, and how long it will take you to recover. Your anesthesia provider will have the same discussion with you about your anesthesia care.
Who administers anesthesia?
Our staff of anesthesia physicians are all Board Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology. The Greenspring Surgery Center anesthesia provider stays with you for the entire procedure, constantly monitoring every important function of your body and individually modifying your anesthetic to ensure maximum safety and comfort.
About Our Anesthesiologists
Anesthesia is provided by the doctors of U.S. Anesthesia Partners (USAP) – Maryland, as part of a national network. Read more about them on their website: US Anesthesia Partners
How do you recover from anesthesia?
Immediately after surgery, you will be taken to a post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), often called the recovery room, where nurses will observe and assist in your immediate recovery. A nurse will check your vital signs, bandages and ask about your discomfort level. Some effects of anesthesia may persist for many hours after the procedure. You may have some numbness or reduced sensation in the part of your body that was anesthetized with local or regional anesthesia. Other common side effects of anesthesia are closely monitored and managed to decrease your discomfort. These side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting. In most cases, nausea after anesthesia can be treated and does not last long.
- A mild drop in body temperature. You may feel cold and shiver when you are waking up and our nurses will help address and monitor this. Very rarely, some patients experience a significant drop in body temperature, also known as hypothermia. Our staff is trained to monitor for and treat (deal with) this (and are always monitoring this).
As for recovering at home, a responsible adult must drive you home and remain with you until the effects of anesthesia have subsided, usually within 24 hours.
- You will remain sleepy so plan to rest. In most cases you can resume activity in a few days.
- Plan a light meal for after your surgery such as soup and saltines. While recovering at the center, the nurses will give you liquids and monitor your response.
- You may receive a prescription for medication to relieve incisional discomfort. Take any medication with a light snack.
- Follow the instructions provided by your Surgeon. These will be reviewed with you and your caregiver by your nurse at the surgical center.
- A member of our nursing staff will call you after your surgery to review your progress but you may contact your surgeon’s office for any major concerns you may have prior to this call.