Collaborative Anesthesia Partners understands questions may arise as you prepare for your upcoming surgery/procedure. Below are answers to common questions received by patients regarding anesthesia and their care.
What is anesthesia?
Anesthesia refers to the combination of medications and/or treatments that relieve pain, decrease sensation/awareness. Some anesthesia will put you in a sleeplike state that allows surgical/invasive procedures to be performed effectively while ensuring safety.
What are reasons a patient may receive anesthesia?
Anesthesia is used for many different reasons including, but not limited to: childbirth, filling a tooth, minor/major surgeries, and medical procedures such as colonoscopies.
The type of anesthesia delivered is based on the needs of the patient and procedure/surgery that is being performed.
Types of Anesthesia
- Local Anesthesia: If you have ever had Novocaine at the dentist office, you have had a local anesthetic. Local anesthesia reduces pain in a small focused area by blocking nerve impulses in that area. The patient remains awake when receiving local anesthesia.
- Regional Anesthesia: Used for larger regions of the body. Depending on the reason for anesthesia, this type of anesthesia may be used independently or in conjunction with sedation medications.
- Epidural: Used frequently in childbirth. A small catheter is inserted near the sac of fluid that surrounds the spinal cord. Medications to alleviate sensation and/or pain are infused into the area.
- Spinal Anesthesia: A local anesthetic is inserted directly into the sac of fluid that surrounds the spinal cord. Effects of the anesthetic are felt immediately.
- Peripheral Nerve Block: A specific type of regional anesthesia where an anesthetic is injected near a specific nerve or bundle of nerves to block sensations of pain from that specific area. Pain relief from Peripheral Nerve Blocks last longer than general anesthetic medications; usually 24-36 hours. Use of a peripheral nerve block also decreases the need for alternative pain medications, such as opioids.
- General Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia delivery is commonly used. The length and type of procedure/surgery and potential for blood loss determine if general anesthesia will be used. A patient receiving general anesthesia will be in a sleeplike state and unable to move. A breathing tube may be placed to maintain the patient’s airway.
- Monitored Anesthesia Care: This level of anesthesia is used for minimally invasive procedures. Medications are injected into the bloodstream through a catheter (IV), breathed into the lungs or administered by other routes. A patient is expected to maintain their own airway with this delivery, and all our anesthesiologists are comfortable at transitioning to general anesthesia delivery if required.
Commonly Asked Questions
An anesthesiologist is a specially trained nurse or physician who specializes in anesthesia. All nurse and physician anesthesiologists at Collaborative Anesthesia Partners are board-certified and experienced in independent anesthesia practice. Having a physician or nurse anesthesiologist will make no difference in the safety of your anesthesia, type of anesthesia or how it is delivered.
Although anesthesia delivery is not without the risk of adverse effects; it is generally safe. Your anesthesiologist will discuss the risks and benefits of anesthesia with you prior to having you sign a consent for anesthesia treatment.
The more common risks associated with receiving anesthesia include: post-operative nausea/vomiting, grogginess/confusion, feelings of cold/shivering, and sore throat (if a breathing tube was placed by the anesthesiologist during your procedure/surgery).
It is extremely dangerous to be sedated with food or liquid in your stomach. If there is food or fluid in the stomach, a life-threatening complication called aspiration may occur. You must NOT eat or drink anything for (8) hours prior to your scheduled procedure/surgery.
Your anesthesiologist will meet with you before your procedure/surgery. They will review your current and past medical history with you; including any procedures/surgeries where you have received anesthesia. They will discuss any allergies you have along with any medications (prescription, over the counter, and herbal supplements) you are currently taking.
Disclosing correct information regarding use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and smoking is very important as these substances can impact your response to anesthesia during your procedure/surgery. This shared information is confidential. If you currently smoke; please refrain from smoking prior to your procedure/surgery for at least 24 hours (the longer the better). Benefits to smoking abstinence in anesthesia delivery can be seen in as little as 12 hours.
Your anesthesiologist will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your anesthesia plan of care at this time. Depending on your procedure/surgery; your anesthesiologist may discuss treatment options, such as regional anesthesia, with you.
Certain medications used in anesthesia and for treatment of pain can upset your stomach. To prevent this from affecting you, we generally use one or more medications to prevent nausea. With treatment, most people wake up comfortably. If you have been very nauseous after anesthesia in the past, please let your anesthesia provider know so that we can create a plan to keep you as comfortable as possible.
Anesthesia doesn’t hurt. However, the procedure/surgery can be uncomfortable or painful. This pain can come from the skin or from deeper down inside your body. Part of anesthesia is giving medicine or treatments, such as a peripheral nerve block, that reduce your pain.
Once your procedure/surgery is complete, the anesthesiologist will stop delivering medications to keep you asleep and you will begin to wake up. Depending on your anesthesia plan of care, you may receive other medications to reverse the anesthesia.
Some patients begin to wake up in the operating room or procedure area; other patients will begin to wake up after being transferred to the recovery room. You will continue to be monitored as you wake up.
During this time, depending on the facility policies, your family will be able to come back to be with you as you finish waking up.
Please refer to our FINANCIAL INFORMATION section for more detailed information. Our billing company, BCS Incorporated, will be able to assist with insurance questions not answered HERE. Their Patient Account Representatives are available to assist you at 888-278-4126 M-F 8:30AM-4PM.