Patient Resources

Q: What types of anesthesia can be used during my operation?

A: There are 3 types of anesthesia that can be administered during your surgery:

There are 3 types of anesthesia that can be administered during your surgery

    Local Anesthesia:
    When given local anesthesia, only a small, specific area of your body, such as a hand or foot is numbed. Local anesthesia lasts for a short period of time, and is administered directly into the surgical site to temporarily block pain and sensations to that area. It is often used for small or minor outpatient surgical procedures so patients can return home the same day of the operation.

    General Anesthesia:
    With general anesthesia, the patient is unconscious or “asleep” for the duration of the surgery and will feel no pain during the procedure. General anesthesia is most commonly administered through a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gases (anesthetics)

    Regional Anesthesia:
    Regional anesthesia involves rendering only a portion of a patient’s body numb or insensitive to a surgical procedure. It can be used in conjunction with general anesthesia to not only render a patient insensate, but also to provide hours of post-operative pain relief. Common examples of employing a regional anesthetic include shoulder and upper extremity surgery. Cesarean section, hip, knee, vascular, foot and prostate surgeries have all been successfully performed with regional techniques. Relief of labor pain during childbirth is commonly achieved with epidural anesthesia.

Q: How long will I need to recover from general anesthesia?

A: The post-surgical effects of the procedure will vary with each patient. A patient may feel sick or experience nausea and vomiting, but we take measures to prevent this, as well as administer medications to minimize pain and symptoms after your surgery.  Most people wake up in the recovery room shortly after the operation, and can be groggy while medicines are leaving their system.

You will need also to arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up once you’re released, and we advise against making important decisions or operating a vehicle for 24 hours after your surgery.

Q: Why can’t I eat or drink before an operation?

A: Fasting is strongly recommended up to 12 hours before your scheduled surgery. This is done to avoid complications during the surgical procedure and ensures your safety throughout the process. Contrary to what many think, this does not have anything to do with nausea and vomiting experienced after surgery. When a patient is under anesthesia, it is common for the body’s reflexes to relax. This relaxation can cause any food or drink in the stomach to travel backwards into the esophagus, mouth, or even the lungs. This can lead to a condition called aspiration pneumonitis.

Q: How will my doctor find out about my risk of problems from anesthesia?

A: Before your surgery, you will have a preanesthesia visit with your anesthesiologist. This visit is an important step in your surgery. Your anesthesia care team will interview you for information on:

  • Your general health
  • Any known allergies
  • Any chronic or other medical conditions
  • Recent hospital visits or past surgeries
  • Previous experiences with anesthesia

Your anesthesiologist will also perform a physical exam, and any additional lab tests that are needed.

Q: Should I continue to take my normal medications before surgery?

A: All medications and prescriptions you are currently taking should be discussed with your anesthesiologists during your preanesthesia meeting and interview. Medications used specifically for any type of blood condition (blood clots, high blood pressure) should especially be discussed with your anesthesiologist. These can include aspirin, diuretics or diabetic medication.

It is important to disclose all of this information before your surgery so your anesthesiologist can make the best decisions for your health and safety while administering anesthesia.

Q: What are the risks of anesthesia?

A: There are risks associated with any kind of operation or surgical procedure, depending on factors such as the type of surgery and the patient’s medical history.  Your anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist are trained and Board Certified to perform the anesthesia procedures, and our tools and equipment are the most advanced and state-of-the-art available.

The risk of major complications in overall healthy patients is very low. Your anesthesiologist will take every precaution in order to minimize this risk as much as possible.

A patient may experience other minor symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, headaches, dizziness, pain or muscle soreness. These are common and easily treated after your surgical procedure.

Q: Who will be in the room while my operation takes place?

A: Along with the qualified medical team performing your surgery, your anesthesiologist (an M.D. or D.O) and possibly a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) or Anesthesiologist Assistant (A.A.) will be with you throughout the operation. Your Anesthesia Team will monitor you during the entire procedure, as well as see you safely into the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit.

Q: Can I wake up during my surgery?

A: It is highly unlikely that you will be awake during your surgery. Fortunately, waking up during an operation is an extremely rare and unlikely occurrence. Since your anesthesiologist is with you for the entire procedure, there is no risk of your anesthesia “running out” while surgery is still being performed. If you have concerns regarding this, speak with your anesthesiologist during your preanesthesia visit.

Q: How does my anesthesiologist know how much anesthesia I need?

A: There is no set formula used by anesthesiologist to determine how much anesthesia you will need.  Every administration of anesthesia will be tailored to the individual patient, and depend on many different factors such as: weight, age, gender, and current medications.

Q: How am I billed for the anesthesiologist’s services?

A: Normally you will receive a bill for anesthesia services administered during your surgery from the anesthesiologist. Your bill from the hospital may also include charges for technology and supplies provided to the anesthesiologist. You are also responsible for any deductibles or co-pays, as is normal with medical services covered by your insurance.

Q: My bill has two separate charges for services performed by the anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist. Why am I being charged twice?

A: Some insurance providers require separate charges to be submitted for both the Anesthesiologist’s services and the Nurse Anesthetist’s (CRNA) services. The total amount is equal to what would be charged if there was a single anesthesia provider.

Q: Will my insurance company pay more when there are two anesthesia providers involved in my operation? How much of the expense am I responsible for?

A: No. Although your Anesthesia Team may consist of an anesthesiologist and a nurse anesthetist (CRNA), you will not be charged extra. Depending on your insurance policy and coverage, it may be necessary for separate charges to be filed for each anesthesia provider in order for the full reimbursement to be paid.

Q: Does Associates in Anesthesia participate with my health insurance plan? What forms of payment do you accept?

A: Associates in Anesthesia participates with federal and state health insurance policies. For more information on which private commercial insurers we participate with, please contact us. You are also responsible for any deductibles or co-pays, as is normal with medical services covered by your insurance provider.

Don’t see the answer to one of your questions here?
Please contact a Physician Assistant at 610-447-6021 or visit the American Association of Anesthesiology at the Lifeline to Modern Medicine.