Anesthesia controls pain. And it keeps all your organs working normally during surgery or another kind of procedure.
Anesthesia can relax you. It can also make you sleepy or forgetful. Or it may make you unconscious. It depends on what kind you get.
Your anesthesia provider (anesthesiologist) will make sure you are comfortable and safe during the procedure or surgery.
There are different types of anesthesia.
The type of anesthesia you have depends on many things, such as:
You will talk with your anesthesia provider about your options. In many cases, you may be able to choose the type of anesthesia you have.
Major side effects are not common. But all types of anesthesia have some risk. Your risk depends on your overall health. It also depends on the type of anesthesia you have and how you respond to it. Serious but rare risks include breathing problems, heart attack, stroke, and reaction to the medicine.
Some health conditions increase the risk of problems. Your anesthesia provider will find out about any health problems you have that may affect your care.
Your anesthesia provider will closely watch your vital signs during anesthesia and surgery. This includes checking your blood pressure and heart rate. This may help you avoid problems from anesthesia.
You will get a list of instructions to help you prepare. Your doctor will let you know what to expect when you get to the hospital, during the surgery, and after.
You will get instructions about when to stop eating and drinking.
If you take medicine, you will get instructions about what you can and can't take before surgery.
You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of anesthesia. Before you do, your anesthesia provider will talk with you about the best type for you and the risks and benefits of that type.
Many people are nervous before they have anesthesia and surgery. Ask your doctor about ways to relax before surgery. These may include relaxation exercises or medicine.
Right after the surgery, you will be in the recovery room. Nurses will make sure you are comfortable. As the anesthesia wears off, you may feel some pain and discomfort from your surgery.
Tell someone if you have pain. Pain medicine works better if you take it before the pain gets bad.
You may feel some of the effects of anesthesia for several hours.
Other common side effects of anesthesia include:
For minor surgeries, you may go home the same day. For other surgeries you may stay in the hospital. Your doctor will check on your recovery from the anesthesia. He or she will answer any questions you may have.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: March 28, 2018
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & John M. Freedman MD - Anesthesiology
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