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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the types of anesthesia? Ramapo

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 or other sensations. If you have regional anesthesia, your anesthesiologist injects medication near a cluster of nerves to numb only the area of your body that requires surgery. You may remain awake or you may be given a sedative. For some surgical procedures, a local anesthetic may be injected into the skin and tissues to numb a specific location. Your anesthesiologist, in consultation with your surgeon, will determine the best type of anesthesia for you, taking your desires into consideration whenever possible. These options will be discussed during your preoperative interview with the anesthesiologist.

During the surgery, what does my anesthesiologist do? Ramapo

Your anesthesiologist is personally responsible for your comfort and well-being before, during and after your surgical procedure. In the operating room, the anesthesiologist will direct your anesthesia and manage vital functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, heart rhythm, body temperature and breathing. The anesthesiologist is also responsible for fluid and blood replacement, when necessary. He or she will regulate the anesthesia so that you will be comfortable until your anesthetic care is completed.

After surgery, what can I expect? Ramapo

Your anesthesiologist is also responsible for your care in the recovery room, often called the post-anesthesia care unit. Here, the anesthesiologist directs specially-trained staff members who monitor your condition and vital signs as the effects of the anesthesia wear off. Your anesthesiologist will determine when you are able to leave the recovery room.

Will I be able to eat the day of surgery? Ramapo

You will not be permitted to eat the day of your surgery. The primary concern about eating before surgery is that general anesthesia can cause nausea and vomiting. If the patient vomits while being anesthetized, there is a risk that the vomit could be aspirated into the lungs. This can be extremely dangerous. During the procedure, vomiting or stomach reactions could also interfere with the anesthesiologist's equipment or the surgical site. Once the patient wakes up, he or she will feel nauseated and will be offered clear liquids and plain foods to help reduce the feeling of sickness.

As a general rule, no solid foods should be eaten less than eight hours before surgery. Patients can drink clear liquids until four hours before, although they should take small sips, and the liquids should be clear.

Why will I have a sore throat after my surgery? Ramapo

There are two reasons your throat may be sore following surgery. First, you may be dehydrated, since you weren't allowed to eat or drink before surgery and food and fluids are limited immediately following surgery.

Second, during general anesthesia, a breathing tube is put into your mouth and down your throat, a process called intubation. This tube is then attached to a ventilator to help you breathe during surgery. The tube can be irritating to the vocal cords, both during the surgery and during the insertion process.

Will I wake up during the surgery? Ramapo

Being awake while under anesthesia is not common and tends to happen more often in emergency situations like unplanned cesarean sections or severe trauma when patients are unable to receive proper anesthesia. RAPC administers medications and practices that will limit the chance of a patient’s awareness during surgery. This unnerving situation could include discomfort, pain and the inability to communicate with medical staff.

Can I have only local anesthesia? Ramapo

There are cases when only local anesthesia is administered, but extensive surgeries require additional anesthesia care. Please visit our services section for a description of available anesthesia care and feel free to share any questions or concerns you may have with an RAPC physician.

How will my pain be measured and controlled following surgery? Ramapo

You can help the doctors and nurses "measure" your pain. While you are recovering, your doctors and nurses will frequently ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10, with "0" being "no pain" and "10" being "the worst pain you can imagine." Reporting your pain as a number helps the doctors and nurses know how well your treatment is working and whether to make any changes. Keep in mind that your comfort level (ie, ability to breathe deeply or cough) is more important than absolute numbers (ie, pain score).

You may receive more than one type of pain treatment, depending on your needs and the type of surgery you are having. All of these treatments are relatively safe, but like any therapy, they are not completely free of risk. Dangerous side effects are rare. Nausea, vomiting, itching, urinary retention, constipation, and drowsiness can occur. These side effects are usually easily treated in most cases.

Can nausea and vomiting after surgery and anesthesia be avoided? Ramapo

RAPC will make every effort to minimize nausea and vomiting after surgery and anesthesia. Nausea and vomiting are the most common side effects of anesthesia, but both are far better controlled after surgery than they were in the past. IV medications can now be given at the first hint of nausea to control the symptoms and prevent vomiting, which can cause significant stress on surgical incisions.