It’s natural to be anxious before surgery, especially if you’ve never had general anesthesia for surgery before. Fortunately, you can use the weeks and days before the operation to get ready. Anesthesia Connections’ specialties include comprehensive care by expert physician anesthesiologists, and they’ll help you know what to expect before, during, and after your operation.
Why Do Surgeries Require General Anesthesia?
Anesthesia for major surgery involves using medications — which you inhale or take through an IV—to put you in a sleep-like state during the procedure. Unlike other forms of anesthesia, general anesthesia makes you temporarily unconscious. That way your brain won’t respond to pain signals, and you won’t feel pain during the surgery.
You’ll be monitored the entire time by a physician anesthesiologist, a doctor who specializes in anesthesia, critical care, and pain management. They’ll observe your vital signs and make sure everything goes well. If complications do come up, anesthesiologists are trained to handle emergencies and provide hospital-level care.
Meeting with a Virginia Anesthesiologist
Before the date of your operation, you’ll speak with the anesthesiologist so they can learn more about your health history. Anesthesia for surgery is tailored to the specific needs of every patient, and your medical history helps anesthesiologists figure out the right medication and dosage for you. They might ask you about:
- Prescription or over-the-counter medicines you take, including herbal supplements
- Sleep problems
- Pain medications you’ve taken in the past
- Previous experiences with and reactions to anesthesia, if any
- Smoking, alcohol, or other substance use
- Pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, or sleep apnea
Some of these details, like sleeping issues or a high tolerance for substances, might affect the way you respond to anesthesia. So it’s important to be honest.
You might want to bring in any medications you’re taking or make a list for the anesthesiologist to review. Make sure to mention any medications that haven’t worked for you or any that have given you unpleasant reactions, so the doctor knows what not to use.
Preparing for Surgery: Instructions from Your Doctor
The physician anesthesiologist will explain what to do before surgery, and your doctor will let you know about any tests you need (like X-rays or MRIs) before the operation.
You may be told to temporarily stop taking certain prescribed or over-the-counter medications a week or so before your surgery. Some medications can complicate surgery — by making you bleed more, for instance, or interacting badly with anesthesia.
For instance, you might need to avoid:
- Blood thinners
- Aspirin or other pain relievers containing acetaminophen
- Blood pressure medications
- Oral diabetes medications
- Herbal supplements
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Discuss with your doctor which medications you can and can’t continue before the operation. Based on your specific medical conditions, they can give you a clearer picture.
If you’re a tobacco smoker, you may be asked to stop smoking up to two weeks before surgery since smoking can lead to breathing problems.
The Day of the Procedure
You’ll probably be asked to avoid eating and drinking at least six to eight hours before receiving anesthesia for surgery. Clear fluids like water are sometimes allowed up until a few hours before your operation. And your doctor may approve certain medications.
Temporary fasting is a necessary part of preparing for surgery if you’re having general anesthesia. The anesthesia medications relax muscles in your stomach and throat, which could allow food or liquid to pass into your lungs. There are other steps you can take to ensure the operation and recovery go smoothly.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
- Bring your insurance information, if you have it.
- Arrange for a ride home from the surgery site if you’re being discharged the same day.
- Let the medical staff know about any dentures or prosthetics you have.
SleepGuardian Helps Surgeries Run Smoothly
At SleepGuardian, our staff of trained physician anesthesiologists treats each patient with care and concern. Our office provides general anesthesia for many different kinds of major surgeries, including:
- Dental surgeries
- Ear, nose, and throat operations
- Plastic surgeries
- Spine and radiology operations
Whether it’s your first time receiving anesthesia or you’ve been through the process many times, experienced anesthesiologists will be on hand to address any of your questions and anxieties.
Reach Out to SleepGuardian Before Surgery
Make sure your general anesthesia is a safe, positive experience. Contact SleepGuardian at 844.904.4742 to learn how we can help.