Whether you’re having an elective or required surgical procedure, going under the knife for any reason is a serious matter. Surgery isn’t something that should be viewed in a light-hearted or casual manner.
One of the most important (and often overlooked) medical professionals on your surgical team is your anesthesiologist. This is the person who is responsible for keeping you sedated throughout the surgical procedure.
For that reason, you should have a consultation with your anesthesiologist before you undergo surgery. Here are 4 questions to ask during that consultation with your anasthesiologist.
1. What type of anesthesia will the doctor be using to sedate you during the surgery?
There are several types of anasthesia that you could receive depending on your procedure. A block is a local anasthesia that numbs the pain in a specific area.
Conscious sedation is used to sedate patients for endoscopies and interventional radiology. Moderate sedation and deep sedation are used to put patients to sleep.
General anasthesia is used for major surgeries. This form of anasthesia makes patients unconscious. Patients cannot be awakened until the anasthesiologist changes the medication that is being provided to the patient.
2. Are there any side effects of the anesthesia?
Common side effects of anasthesia include nausea, temporary memory loss, dizziness, difficulty with urination, vomiting and a sore throat. Speak with your anasthesiologist to determine the side effects that you can expect after you wake up from surgery.
3. How should I expect to feel when I wake up from the surgery?
It’s a good idea to find out how you should expect to feel when you awake from surgery. This will keep you from panicking if you feel sick after surgery.
4. What happens if the anasthesia doesn’t fully sedate me during the surgery?
If you’re like most patients, you’ve been told stories about people who weren’t fully sedated during surgery. This can be a frightening experience.
In rare cases, patients will wake up during surgery. This is known as anasthesia awareness. Although patients are aware of the surgery, they don’t feel pain during the procedure.
Share your concerns with your anasthesiologist. Your doctor can reduce your chances of experiencing anasthesia awareness if you provide information about your prescriptions, alcohol/drug use and medical history.
Since your anasthesiologist is an essential part of your surgical team, it’s essential that you don’t overlook this important person. During the conversation with your anasthesiologist, share information about your prior experiences with anasthesia. Asking questions and consulting with your anastesiologist can reduce the stress of surgery.