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.
What You Need To Know About Anesthesia
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.
What Are the Types of Anesthesia?
There are several types of anesthesia, and your doctor and anesthesiologist will determine the best type of anesthesia for the medical procedure you will undergo.
General anesthesia makes a person unconscious through the use of intravenous drugs or inhaled gasses. General anesthesia allows the patient to undergo surgical procedures without feeling pain or discomfort, and they will have no memory of what happened under anesthesia. A breathing tube may be inserted into the windpipe to maintain proper breathing during surgery.
Local anesthesia involves injecting a small amount of local anesthetic directly into the area of the body where the procedure will take place. This numbs the area and prevents the patient from feeling pain during the procedure.
Regional anesthesia involves injecting local anesthetics into specific nerves or groups of nerves to block sensation in a particular area of the body, such as a limb or below the chest. Regional anesthesia does not put a patient to sleep, but it is commonly used along with sedation. It may also be used with general anesthesia.
Conscious sedation is a type of anesthesia that uses a combination of drugs to make the patient feel very relaxed. It reduces painful sensations and the awareness of pain. It is not intended to put the patient to sleep and will wear off quickly after the procedure. The level of sedation can vary depending on the procedure. Patients may be conscious enough to answer questions and follow commands. Conscious sedation is commonly used for simple procedures that can be completed quickly.
Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC)
Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) is a type of anesthesia that combines conscious sedation with local anesthesia to provide pain relief and relaxation during minor surgical procedures. An anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist administers the anesthesia and monitors the patient's vital signs throughout the procedure. Unlike general anesthesia, the patient is conscious and able to communicate, but they may not remember the procedure afterward.
Multimodal anesthesia combines different types of anesthesia and post-surgical pain management techniques to optimize patient comfort and reduce side effects. It does not involve fully sedating the patient. The goal is to provide effective pain relief with fewer side effects and a quicker recovery time.
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.
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 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 mean as tolerated.
Your Resurgens specialists will provide you with contact information should you have any questions or concerns as you recover from your procedure.
How Long Does It Take To Recover from Anesthesia?
The recovery time from anesthesia can vary depending on several factors, including the type of anesthesia used, the duration of the procedure, and the patient's overall health. For local anesthesia, recovery is usually quick, and you can go home shortly after the procedure. Regional and general anesthesia drugs can stay in your system for 24 hours, and it can take several days to fully recover from the effects of anesthesia. It's important to follow your doctor's instructions for postoperative care and recovery, which may include rest, pain management, and avoiding certain activities for a period of time.
Expert Anesthesia Care: Trust Resurgens Orthopedics for Your Procedure
At Resurgens Orthopaedics, ensuring patient safety and comfort during procedures is our top priority. Our doctors focus on personalized care and attention to detail, and we take the time to understand each patient's individual needs and concerns, providing a customized approach to anesthesia delivery and orthopedic surgery. Whether you're undergoing a routine procedure or a more complex orthopedic surgery, you can trust Resurgens to provide compassionate, expert care and support throughout your entire anesthesia and surgical experience.