Information for Patients

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Things you should know about anesthesia:

  • You will undergo either general anesthesia, monitored anesthesia care (MAC), or regional anesthesia. Which type of anesthesia you receive depends on your surgeon’s specific requests, the procedure you are having done, and your specific health history. Your anesthesia provider will review your medical history and explain what is best for you, usually the morning of surgery.
  • Your anesthesia provider stays with you for the entire procedure, constantly monitoring every important function of your body and individually modifying your anesthetic to ensure your maximum safety and comfort.
  • Your anesthesia care will be provided by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). These are nurses who have advanced training in critical care, then 24 to 40 months of post-baccalaureate training in the specialty of anesthesia. This advanced practice nurse passes a national certification examination and is licensed to provide all forms of anesthesia in all types of care situations. Currently CRNAs provide more than 65% of all anesthetics in the United States. CRNAs are not assistants to anesthesiologists and are fully certified and licensed to practice independently.
  • According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, anesthesia care is nearly 50 times safer than it was in the early 1980s. Numerous outcomes studies have demonstrated that there is no difference in the quality of care provided by CRNAs and their physician counterparts.

To understand more about the education and continuing education of CRNAs, please visit the NBCRNA website.

Questions you might ask your doctor or pre-op nurse before your surgery…

  • Which type of anesthesia is best for me and the surgery I am having?
  • What and when should I avoid eating or drinking before I come in to have my surgery?
  • Is it alright to come alone or should someone come with me?
  • Which kinds of medications do you need to know I am taking before I am operated on?
  • Is it alright to take medications for my allergies before I come in?
  • I have asthma, what do I need to know before and after I have surgery?
  • I am diabetic, are there any special concerns before or after I have my surgery?
  • I take complementary / alternative medicines–will these pose any problems or is it alright to keep taking them before my surgery? What about herbal supplements?
  • Will I be able to eat solid foods right after my surgery?
  • What if I have more questions after the surgery? Who can I contact?