Communication between you and your anesthesia provider are essential to the anesthesia process and its safety. Before surgery, a preoperative interview with your nurse anesthetist provides valuable information that helps determine your care. It is equally important to communicate with your anesthesia provider after your surgery. The medications you have been given can remain in your body for 24 hours or more after they have been administered, and you won’t be “back to your old self” until the anesthetic has been totally eliminated.
Please feel free to ask your nurse anesthetist any questions you might have — before and after your anesthesia is administered.
What Is Anesthesia?
Anesthesia is freedom from pain. Each year, millions of people in the United States undergo some form of medical treatment requiring anesthesia. Anesthesia, in the hands of qualified professionals like Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, is a safe and effective means of alleviating pain during nearly every type of medical procedure.
Anesthesia care is not confined to surgery alone. The process also refers to activities that take place both before and after an anesthetic is given.
Note: The above information was provided by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. For more information visit www.aana.com and www.apsf.org.
Who administers anesthesia?
In the majority of cases, anesthesia is administered by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
CRNAs work with your surgeon, dentist or podiatrist, and may work with an anesthesiologist (physician anesthetist). CRNAs are advanced practice nurses with specialized graduate-level education in anesthesiology.
For more than 100 years, nurse anesthetists have been administering anesthesia in all types of surgical cases, using all anesthetic techniques and practicing in every setting in which anesthesia is administered.
Will a nurse anesthetist stay with me throughout surgery?
The nurse anesthetist stays with you for the entire procedure, constantly monitoring every important function of your body and individually modifying your anesthetic to ensure your maximum safety and comfort.
Are there different types of anesthesia?
There are three basic types of anesthesia:
- General anesthesia produces a loss of sensation throughout the entire body.
- Regional anesthesia produces a loss of sensation to a specific region of the body.
- Local anesthesia produces a loss of sensation to a small specific area of the body.
For more information visit www.aana.com.
Questions you should ask:
Because responses will be different for each patient, based on medical history and personal characteristics, answers are not provided below. These are some sample questions you should ask your anesthesia provider before having surgery.
- Which type of anesthesia is best for me and the surgery I am having?
- What should I avoid eating or drinking before I come in to have my surgery?
- Is it alright to come alone or should someone come with me?
- Which kinds of medications do you need to know I am taking before I am operated on?
- (Men) I am currently taking Viagra. Will that interfere with my anesthesia experience in any way?
- Is it alright to take medications for my allergies before I come in?
- I have asthma, what do I need to know before and after I have surgery?
- I am diabetic, are there any special concerns before or after I have my surgery?
- I like to take complementary or alternative medicines–will these pose any problems or is it alright to keep taking them before my surgery? What about herbal supplements?
- Will I be able to eat solid foods right after my surgery?
- What if I have more questions after the surgery? Who can I contact?
- My child is having surgery — what do I need to know? How can I help prepare my child for surgery? Will I be able to stay with my child until the anesthesia takes effect?
- (Women) What are my anesthesia options for labor and delivery?