Preparing for Anesthesia & Surgery
Anesthesia is a safe and effective means of alleviating pain during nearly every type of medical procedure. Patients typically sleep through the surgery or are sedated. Thanks to many advances in medication, technology and education, anesthesia is considered quite safe. The risk of serious complications does exist but is extremely rare. You should take an active role in preparing for anesthesia by communicating and cooperating with your anesthesia professional and surgeon.
You can take comfort in knowing your anesthesia provider will be constantly monitoring every important body function. As changes occur in your reactions to anesthesia, your anesthesia professional responds with modifications to your anesthetic to ensure safety and comfort.
Nausea after surgery used to be a common issue. Now, with improved medications and techniques, less than 10% of patients will have any problems with this issue. Please notify your anesthesia professional if you have had problems with nausea in the past so we can modify your anesthetic to include additional preventative measures to prevent you from having nausea.
You won’t have to worry about pain during surgery. The anesthesia you receive will block pain during surgery. Anesthesia will continue to help with pain after surgery as well. The type of anesthetic and how your body responds to the anesthetic will determine when you will need to start taking pain medication. Your recovery nurse will help you determine when to start taking pain medication as needed on an individual basis.
If you're having orthopedic surgery, you may be receiving a nerve block prior to surgery. The expectation following a nerve block is that you will have no pain for approximately 18-24 hours. Expect that your extremity will be numb for that time until the anesthetic wears off. Inform your anesthesia provider if you have any numbness, tingling or weakness in the surgical extremity prior to anesthesia, or if you have had a similar block in the last 3 months in the same extremity.
- Nothing to eat - 8 hours prior to surgery
- Clear liquids - stop 4 hours prior to surgery (water, gatorade, apple juice, black coffee). Cream/milk products need to be stopped 8 hours prior.
- Infants breastfeeding - stop 4 hours prior to surgery
- Formula - stop 6 hours prior to surgery
Medications Approved to Take Morning of Surgery
- Heart/ Blood Pressure Meds (with the exception of Lisinopril or other ACE inhibitors)
- Anxiety medication
- Seizure medication
- Pain meds (4 hours before)
- Insulin (long acting) half the usual dose
- Asthma medication including inhalers or nebulizers
Medications Not to Take Morning of Surgery
- Oral diabetic medication
- Lisinopril/ACE inhibitors
Medications to Stop 5 days Prior to Surgery
(increase risk of bleeding)
- Coumadin (consult with surgeon)
- NSAIDS (Advil, Aleve, Ibuprofen)
- Garlic, ginseng, garlic, gingko, fish oil
Medications to Stop 7 Days Prior to Surgery
- Plavix and other blood thinners (consult with surgeon)
What Should I tell my Anesthesia Professional?
Before your surgery, let us know the following:
- Have a personal or family history of problems with anesthesia
- History of postoperative nausea/vomiting
- History of moderate or severe acid reflux
- History of stroke or numbness or weakness in arms or legs
- History of moderate to severe burns within last year
- Allergic to latex or medication
- Have a health condition, including high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, sleep apnea, or thyroid disease
- Have asthma, COPD, bronchitis, or other breathing problems
- Smoke, drink alcohol, or take street drugs
- Take NSAIDs or steroid medicines
- Have bleeding problems
- Are pregnant or think there is any chance you may be pregnant
- Reacted to anesthesia in the past
Do I Need Someone to Take Me Home?
YES. Even if you only have a minor procedure, you will typically receive some type of sedation. Legally we cannot send you home if you have received any type of sedation.
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