Why can’t I eat before surgery?

Though it might be inconvenient, fasting before surgery is an important precaution. Since anesthesia may remove natural protective reflexes, a full or partially-full stomach can cause an aspiration hazard. During your pre-operative visit with your anesthesiologist, you’ll talk about fasting and the best individual strategy for your surgery.


Will the anesthesia make me sick?

Although many patients worry about nausea and vomiting after anesthesia and surgery, these symptoms are much less common than they once were. However, it can still be an issue, one that is often hard to predict. Factors such as the type of surgery, your gender, your age, and any existing medical conditions can all alter the chances of getting sick after anesthesia. Ask your anesthesiologist to talk with you about your individual situation.


What if I wake up during the operation?

Patients often ask us about the possibility of waking up during the middle of an operation. Although it is very rare, there have been cases when it has occurred. We refer to this as “awareness.”  When awareness does happen, it is usually just prior to the anesthetic taking effect or as the patient is emerging from anesthesia. If you have any concerns regarding awareness, we are happy to talk with you during your pre-operative visit.


What is regional anesthesia?

This term refers to anesthetizing a specific region of the body, as opposed to a general, which refers to anesthetizing the entire body. A spinal block, an epidural block or a block to a specific nerve or set of nerves are examples of regional anesthesia.


What kind of medication will I receive?

Many different drugs are used for various reasons at various times during a general anesthesia procedure. When you meet with your anesthesiologist, feel free to ask what the plan might be for your procedure.


Will my anesthesiologist be with me the entire time I’m asleep?

Absolutely. General anesthetics are given continuously for the duration of the surgery procedure. The patient will slowly begin to wake once the anesthetic is stopped, and we will be there to monitor you the entire time.


When will I feel normal?

Although most patients do not notice any effects, some may be sensitive to small, residual amounts of some anesthetic drugs that remain in the body for over 24 hours. Usually, this symptom is mild. A larger factor is typically the amount of pain you might have based on the type of operation that was performed, and the drugs that are prescribed to you.


When will I be able to eat and drink after surgery?

This can vary. From the anesthetic perspective, patients can drink fluids and progress quickly to full meals as soon as they feel ready. This could even be within an hour following a minor procedure. Again, feel free to talk with your anesthesiologist during your appointment to learn more about your specific situation.


Where can I get additional information?