Whether it is you, or your loved ones who may be scheduled for surgery then this is the right place to understand the different types of anesthesia that is offered to all patients.

Some rules apply to all forms of anesthesia, such as nothing to eat or drink before the procedure. For solid foods, it is required to fast 8 hours prior to surgery. For clear liquids, it is required to have nothing to drink 2 hours prior to surgery. (This means you cannot have any fluids with dairy or juice with pulp) It is also best to avoid chewing gum prior to surgery.

If you are told that you’re going home the same day as your procedure, you must have a responsible adult above the age of 18 years of age to take you home. Be sure to have a responsible adult to accompany you after your procedure, to avoid cancellation.

Before the procedure:

  • Your anesthesia team will evaluate your medical history and any current medications
  • The risks, benefits, and side effects will be discussed
  • A peripheral IV catheter will be placed in your hand or arm

During the procedure:

  • The anesthesia team will monitor your vital signs throughout the entire case

After the procedure:

  • It is common to feel drowsy up to 24 hours after surgery
  • Do not drive, operate a vehicle, drink alcohol, make any important/legal decisions for 24 hours
  • Do not smoke or vape
  • Stay hydrated with plenty of fluids and eat food as tolerated, unless directed otherwise by your surgery team
  • Take pain medications as prescribed by your surgery team
  • Rest at home in the care of a friend or relative

Three Types of Anesthesia

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is provided to patients receiving surgery so that patients will not move, feel, or remember any part of the surgery. It is usually given by medicine that enters the intravenous catheter (IV) connected to your vein or by breathing a mask with special gas. Sometimes the combination of the two are offered. Your anesthesia team monitors your vital signs throughout the entirety of the surgical case. Some of the side effects include nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, sore throat, and pain after surgery.

Monitored anesthesia care

Sedation is a type of anesthesia, also known as monitored anesthesia care. This anesthetic is commonly referred to as “twilight sedation.” You will feel drowsy and fall asleep during the procedure. Remembering some of the procedure is normal.

Sedation takes place through the peripheral intravenous catheter that his inserted into one of your veins. Medicine is administered, causing you to feel drowsy with the ability to recover relatively quickly compared to general anesthesia.

Side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea

Like general anesthesia, it is important to avoid driving or using heavy machinery and making any important legal decision following these types of anesthetics for 24 hours. Also refrain from consuming alcohol for 24 hours.

Regional Anesthesia/Nerve Block

You will have medicine injected under your skin. This numbs a small part of your body for the procedure. You may be awake, but comfortable and remembering some parts of the procedure is normal.

It is common to have numbness or weakness for 24-48 hours until the nerve block wears off. During this time, do not drive or operate heavy machinery until the numbness has worn off and normal movement has fully returned. Drowsiness can exist, up to 12 hours after the procedure.

Dehydration is often the most common cause of nausea, and hydration can help rid these symptoms.

After the effects of the block has worn off, it is common to experience pain related to the surgery. Follow your surgeon’s instruction for pain medications. If the nerve block wears off in the middle of the night, you may wake up in a lot of pain. Some doctors suggest taking a prescribed pain medication prior to bedtime.

Side effects:

  • Numbness or weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Pain

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