Frequently Asked Questions & Facts About Anesthesia

Getting Started

When surgery is pending, a certain level anxiety regarding your surgical team is very understandable. That’s why it’s important to get to know, and have complete confidence in your entire surgical team. Speaking with an anesthesiologist prior to surgery may help alleviate your concerns.

When your surgeon works with IAA, our anesthesiologist will be happy to answer all of your questions and explain their role in your operation, step by step. You can speak with your surgeon as well and have them recommend an anesthesiologist who specializes in procedures like yours.

Finding the best anesthesiologist for you and your situation is easy. Get to know us. We look forward to meeting you.

Please contact Integrated Anesthesia Associates (IAA) if you’d like to discuss surgical anesthesia with one of our Board Certified Anesthesiologists.

The type of surgery you are having, i.e. orthopedic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, labor and delivery, etc., may indicate which IAA anesthesiologist is right for your case.

With a staff of more than 100 highly skilled anesthesiologists, you can rest assured that a qualified anesthesia team of specialists from Integrated Anesthesia Associates will be providing you and your family with the services and outcome you expect and deserve.

Please contact Integrated Anesthesia Associates (IAA) if you’d like to discuss surgical anesthesia with one of our Board Certified Anesthesiologists.

There are four main types of anesthesia; local, monitored, regional and general anethesia. Depending upon your procedure and your individual needs and circumstances, your anesthesiologist will choose and discuss the correct anesthesia for you.  Choices include: local anesthesia, monitored anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and general anesthesia. Each has many forms and uses.

Local Anesthesia
In local anesthesia, the anesthetic drug is usually injected into the tissue to numb the specific location of your body having minor surgery, (for example, the hand or foot).
Monitored Anesthesia
With monitored anesthesia (also called “light sedation”) an anesthesiologist provides close patient monitoring for a patient receiving local or regional anesthesia during surgery. Intravenous sedation is often used. The patient is typically awake but in a condition that ranges from relaxed to groggy. This type of anesthesia is frequently used with minor surgeries.
Regional Anesthesia
In regional anesthesia, your anesthesiologist injects near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. You may remain awake or you may be given a sedative. Either way, you will not see or feel the actual surgery take place. There are several kinds of regional anesthesia. Two of the most frequently used are spinal anesthesia and epidural anesthesia, which are produced by injections made with great exactness into the appropriate areas of the back. Both are typically used during childbirth and prostate surgery.
General Anesthesia
With general anesthesia, you are unconscious and have no awareness or sensation. General anesthetic drugs include gases and vapors inhaled through a breathing mask or tube and medications introduced through a vein. During anesthesia, your anesthesiologist will carefully monitor and control your major bodily functions via sophisticated equipment. A breathing tube may be inserted through your mouth and frequently into the windpipe to maintain proper breathing during this period. The length and level of anesthesia is calculated and constantly adjusted with great precision. At the conclusion of surgery, your anesthesiologist will reverse the process and you will regain consciousness in the recovery room.

Yes. All of your physicians, including your Anesthesiologist need to be made aware of all of your pre-existing conditions. Please be sure to share this information.
Your surgeon’s office will provide you with explicit instructions for you to follow prior to your surgery. Every person and situation are different so it is critical that you receive this information and follow directions regarding preparation for your surgery.

Common Questions

Although awareness under general anesthesia is possible, it can be prevented. Our anesthesia care team members are well-trained professionals who are extremely vigilant during administration of anesthesia to ensure the patient’s safety and well-being. When patients are only sedated, awareness is not uncommon depending the depth of the sedation; this should not be confused with awareness under general anesthesia.

Please contact Integrated Anesthesia Associates if you’d like to discuss surgical anesthesia with one of our Board Certified Anesthesiologists.

Depending upon the type of anesthesia you receive, you may or may not be completely sedated. Your doctor will determine which type of anesthesia is right for you based upon the type of procedure you are receiving. If you are put under full sedation, you will more than likely only remember gently falling asleep and not wake until you are in the recovery room where you will be fully cared for by the nursing staff.
Receiving anesthesia is not painful. In fact, it’s purpose is to relieve any pain associated with the surgical procedure. If you’re concerned about pain or pain intolerance before, during or after surgery, please speak with your IAA Anesthesiologist about your concerns so that they may answer your questions and reassure you and your loved ones.
Your anesthesiologist will discuss the risks and benefits associated with each anesthetic option, as well as any potential complications or side effects they may cause. Some patients may experience nausea or vomiting. Medications to treat nausea and vomiting are available if needed.
All operations and all anesthesia procedures have some associated risk. These risks depend may depend surgery type, underlying medical condition and other personal factors.

High reliability is our number one goal and fortunately, adverse anesthesiology events are very rare. You can rest assured that your IAA anesthesiologist will take every precaution to prevent an accident from occurring, just as you do when driving a car or crossing the street.

Since your specific risks may vary depending on your procedure and your condition, we suggest you ask speak candidly with your anesthesiologist about the risks and ask any questions or voice any concerns you or your loved ones may have.

As a general rule, you should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before a surgery. In certain cases, the anesthesiologist may give a patient permission to drink clear liquids up to a few hours before the anesthesia procedure.
There are several types of anesthesia. We have detailed them in the “Anesthesia Techniques” FAQ section below.
Some medications can and should be taken and others should not. It is important to discuss this issue with your surgeon or anesthesiologist thoroughly to prevent any adverse effects. Do not interrupt any medication unless your anesthesiologist or surgeon specifically recommends it.
Anesthesiologists are currently researching exactly how certain herbs and dietary supplements interact with particular anesthetics. They are finding that certain herbal medicines may prolong the effects of anesthesia. Others may increase the risk of bleeding or raise blood pressure.

Some effects may be subtle and less critical, but for anesthesiologists it is better to anticipate a possible reaction than to react to an unexpected situation. That is why it is very important to tell your doctor about everything you normally take before you have surgery.