We have found many patients have the same questions before surgery. Our hope is that you will find this information helpful and will make you feel more comfortable on the day of surgery.
Who is my anesthesiologist?
Anesthesiologists are licensed medical doctors who specialize in anesthesiology. Our training extends over twelve years or more and requires a four-year college degree followed by four years of medical school and another four years of training in the specialty of anesthesiology.
We are highly trained in the use of anesthetics for the relief of pain and the total care of the surgical patient, before, during and after surgery. We are all qualified to care for the complete spectrum of patient conditions and surgical procedures, from infants to centenarians, from minor outpatient procedures to major heart, lung, and intracranial surgeries.
On any given day, each of our anesthesiologists will be assigned to a specific surgeon and location. Due to the complex and changing nature of surgical scheduling, we are unable to honor requests for specific anesthesiologists.
When will I meet my anesthesiologist?
The preoperative consultation can occur anytime from far in advance of your procedure date to immediately prior to your procedure. Patients being treated at outpatient facilities are generally healthy enough to be seen by their anesthesiologist immediately prior to their anesthetic. Patients having surgery at Providence Medical Center and Rogue Regional Medical Center are screened by preoperative clinic nurses and/or an anesthesiologist. We will review your medical history, do a focused physical examination, order tests as necessary, work with you to create an anesthetic plan, give you preoperative instructions for eating, drinking, and medication use, and answer any questions you may have.
My other doctors say I am “cleared” for surgery. Why do I have be seen in the Pre-Anesthesia Clinic?
Anesthesia and surgery will affect critical systems in your body. Specific types of surgery may effect your body differently than other surgeries. Your anesthesiologist is not only your advocate but also the physician uniquely qualified and experienced to make your surgery and recovery as safe and comfortable as possible. This is because our medical training provides a strong background in the principles of internal medicine and critical care, as well as the specific impact of anesthesia. We appreciate the strong medical community present in the Rogue Valley, and indeed depend on their continuing efforts to keep our community healthy and strong. In matters relating to anesthesia, we are proud to stand alone as the authorities on pre-surgical medical readiness and the appropriate anesthetic plan for you.
Should I bring anything with me to the Pre-Anesthesia Clinic?
It is important for us to understand your medical history and current state of health as accurately as possible. For that reason, we will ask for:
- A list of all types and doses of your medicines, vitamins, and other supplements
- A complete list of past surgeries and anesthetics
- Copies of past cardiac studies (EKG, “stress test”, echocardiogram, angioplasty) if you have it available
- Information cards on any implanted devices (pacemakers, defibrillators, pain pumps)
Booklets, orders, or consents given to you by your surgeons office
Why can’t I eat before surgery?
We know it is uncomfortable to fast before surgery. However, fasting is an important step to keep you safe. Since anesthesia may remove natural protective reflexes, a full or partially-full stomach can cause food in your stomach to move backwards into your eating pipe and can then fall back down into your lungs. This could cause a serious pneumonia. During your pre-operative visit, you will talk about fasting and the best individual strategy for your surgery.
What are the types of anesthesia?
There are three main categories of anesthesia: general, regional and local. With general anesthesia, you are unconscious and have no awareness of the surgical procedure. If you have regional anesthesia, your anesthesiologist injects medication near a cluster of nerves to numb only a specific region of the body, as opposed to a general, which refers to anesthetizing the entire body. A spinal, epidural or a block to a specific nerve or set of nerves are examples of regional anesthesia. For some surgical procedures, a local anesthetic may be injected into the skin and tissues to numb a specific location. Regional and local anesthesia may be combined with IV sedation to make you drowsy or asleep. Your anesthesiologist, in consultation with your surgeon, will determine the best type of anesthesia for you, taking your desires into consideration.
Specific surgeries or your medical history may require extra procedures for a higher degree of monitoring, and control of vital sign parameters within a narrow range. In addition, we might determine the need for extra fluid, blood products or special medications and then administer them when necessary.
Your anesthesiologist carefully monitors and controls your treatment during anesthesia. The depth and duration of anesthesia is calculated and constantly adjusted with great precision. At the conclusion of surgery, your anesthesiologist will facilitate your transition to the recovery phase.
What if I still have questions?
Many people are apprehensive about surgery or anesthesia. If you are well-informed and know what to expect, you will be better prepared and more relaxed. Our professional society, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, has a website dedicated to patient education covering a wide range of anesthesia-related topics. Please visit them at www.asahq.org/patientEducation.htm. We also encourage you to talk with us, your anesthesiologists, and discuss any concerns you might have about your planned anesthetic care. We look forward to caring for you!
Please note: The information provided on this page is general information and may not apply to your specific needs. We recommend that you speak to your anesthesiologist openly about any questions or concerns you have about your health or your anesthetic plan.