During orthopedic surgery, your doctors will administer anesthesia to numb the surgical area. For more complex surgeries, they use anesthesia to induce unconsciousness and prevent pain during the operation. To accomplish this safely and effectively, orthopedic anesthetists perform a thorough preoperative evaluation, select the appropriate anesthesia technique, and monitor your vital signs and response to anesthesia closely during the surgery.
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Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC)
What Is Anesthesia and How Does It Work?
Anesthesia is a medical practice that involves using drugs to induce a state of temporary unconsciousness or sedation in a patient, which blocks pain sensations, muscle movement, and awareness during surgical procedures. Medications that temporarily block pain signals from nerves to the brain are called anesthetics, and different forms of anesthesia are used to prepare patients for different types of procedures.
How Should I Prepare for Anesthesia?
Preparing for anesthesia can help to ensure a safe and successful surgical experience. Here are some general guidelines for patients:
- Follow your doctor's instructions: Your doctor or anesthesiologist will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for anesthesia, including when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. If you don't follow instructions about when to stop eating and drinking before surgery, your procedure may be delayed or canceled.
- Provide a complete medical history: Inform your doctor of any medical conditions, medications, allergies, and previous surgeries you have had, as these can affect the choice of anesthesia.
- Avoid certain medications: Some medications, such as blood thinners, may need to be stopped or adjusted before surgery to prevent excessive bleeding.
- Stop smoking and limit alcohol intake: Smoking and excessive alcohol intake can increase the risk of complications during and after surgery.
- Arrange for transportation and postoperative care: Patients should arrange for a responsible adult to drive them home after surgery, as the effects of anesthesia may linger for several hours. It is also important to plan for any necessary postoperative care or assistance with activities of daily living.
- Follow preoperative fasting guidelines: Patients should follow the specific preoperative fasting guidelines provided by their doctor, as failure to do so can increase the risk of aspiration and other complications during surgery.
Overall, communication with your doctor and anesthesiologist is key to ensuring a safe and successful anesthesia experience.
How Is Anesthesia Administered?
Anesthesia can be delivered in different ways depending on the type of procedure and the patient's needs. The most common methods include:
- Intravenous (IV) injection: Medications are given through an IV line to induce general anesthesia, which puts the patient to sleep and makes them unaware of the surgery.
- Inhalation: The patient breathes in an anesthetic gas through a mask or a tube placed in the airway to achieve general anesthesia.
- Local anesthesia: Medications are injected into the tissue or surrounding nerves to numb the specific area of the body where the surgery will take place.
- Regional anesthesia: Medications are injected into a group of nerves to numb a larger area of the body, such as an arm or leg.
Whatever method is used, the anesthesiologist will carefully monitor the patient's vital signs and adjust the anesthesia as needed to ensure a safe and comfortable procedure.
What Are the Potential Side Effects of Anesthesia?
Depending on the type of anesthesia used and how it is administered, patients could experience:
- Back pain or muscle pain
- Chills caused by low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Difficulty urinating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain, tenderness, redness or bruising at the injection site
- Sore throat (pharyngitis)
Your anesthetist will review potential side effects with you prior to your procedure and can answer any questions you may have.
What Should I Do After Getting Anesthesia?
Your doctor and anesthesiologist will discuss post-anesthesia protocol with you prior to your surgery. For procedures using local anesthesia, you can typically resume normal activities after treatment unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
If you receive general or regional anesthesia, these are the general guidelines you will be asked to follow:
- Have a responsible adult drive you home from your surgery.
- Rest for the remainder of the day.
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours.
- Only take medications or supplements discussed with or prescribed by your doctor.
- Do not make important decisions or sign legal documents for 24 hours.
- Arrange for childcare for the rest of the day if you have children.
- Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours.
- After returning home, begin with a liquid diet and progress to a light meal as tolerated.
Your Resurgens specialists will provide you with contact information should you have any questions or concerns as you recover from your procedure.