Qualified medical professionals welcome and encourage questions about surgical procedures. In fact, studies have shown that well-informed patients heal faster and report a better overall surgical experience. The following are some questions you may want to ask your anesthesiologist about what you can expect before, during and after your surgery. Also, some of the information that you will need to provide to help insure that your anesthetic experience is optimal. Be sure that all of your questions are answered clearly and completely.
Some questions you need answered are the following:
What are the qualifications of your anesthesiologist and surgeon? Are they Board Certified in their specialty?
What other anesthesia provider may be involved with my anesthesia care? Does the facility practice in the Anesthesia Care Team mode whereby your anesthetic medical care is directed and supervised by an anesthesiologist but continual monitoring in the operating rooms is provided by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or an Anesthesiologist Assistant? A qualified anesthesia provider should be present with you throughout your anesthetic experience.
Will I meet with an anesthesiologist before surgery? Sometimes, the anesthesiologist will meet with you on the day of surgery prior to your surgery and explain about the anesthesia plan for your procedure.
Do you monitor my heart and breathing? What else?
Today's routine monitoring capabilities allow for the monitoring of the heart (rate and rhythm), breathing (rate, volume, pressures, end tidal carbon dioxide, inspired and expired oxygen percentage, inspired and expired inhalational anesthetic agents), pulse oximetry (percent oxygen saturation in the blood), and sometimes your EEG is monitored. Other more invasive monitoring may be needed for complicated surgical procedures or very sick patients.
Do you have a recovery room that is staffed by qualified and trained recovery room nurses? If not, where will I recover from my anesthetic? Is there an anesthesiologist available to treat me in the recovery room and is there an anesthesiologist available to respond to the recovery room during my entire recovery room stay?
Who will manage my pain control needs after surgery?
Typical Pre-Operative Procedures:
A person undergoing anesthesia is expected not to eat, drink, chew, or suck on anything for a period of time before their procedure. As times vary, one should be clear about this prior to your anesthetic.
Some medications should be taken on the day of surgery. Please inquire about which medications you should take or not take.
Any herbal medications you take should be identified and disclosed to the person asking your medical history. Some herbal medications do interfere with anesthetic medications and these need to be considered along with your prescription medications.