Anesthesia Options, Risks, and Side Effects

The information provided on this website is not a substitute for informed consent for anesthesia and is not exhaustively complete.  The purpose here is to discuss some general issues associated with general anesthesia care.

What are your options for anesthesia?

Depending on the type of procedure and your health status, you may have a number of options for anesthesia.

  • Local anesthesia: only the surgical area will be anesthetized.
  • Regional anesthesia: a larger part or portion of the body is anesthetized. Epidurals and spinals are both forms of regional anesthesia that involve precise injections of anesthesia in appropriate areas of the back.

    Epidurals, where anesthesia is given below the level of the spinal cord through a special needle, are often used for childbirth, but are also an option for many orthopedic procedures because they can provide extended pain relief.

    Regional anesthesia for extremity surgery involves injecting anesthetics into an area where there is a concentration of nerves for that particular extremity in order to block pain. This allows the patient to be awake for surgery and provides pain relief for a time after surgery.

  • General anesthesia:  IV medications and anesthetic gases induce temporary unconsciousness so you cannot feel pain during the operation.  Our operating rooms are equipped with the latest technology to monitor’s a patient’s level of consciousness which can help determine the amount of medication or anesthetic agent needed to meet the needs of each individual patient.
  • Sedation anesthesia: pain relievers and sedatives are given to minimize pain and discomfort during a procedure. You are able to communicate during the procedure, but there is often little memory of the procedure afterwards.

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Anesthesia for Orthopedic Surgery

By this time, you already have visited your orthopedic surgeon and decided to have your surgery. Purchase Anesthesia, PSC will work closely with your orthopedic surgeon to develop an anesthesia plan that for your orthopedic surgery.

You will need to visit the Pre-Admission Testing center at Lourdes Hospital prior to your surgery for a history and physical examination, routine lab tests and possibly a chest X-ray and EKG. These tests must be completed prior to your surgery.

Many patients choose to donate blood prior to surgery. Feel free to discuss this option with your orthopedic surgeon.

The morning of the surgery you will meet with an anesthesiologist or CRNA who will review your medical history and discuss all available options with you. Our goal is to provide you with the anesthetic approach that will control your postoperative pain to get you up and moving and able to follow through with your physical therapy shortly after surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are my anesthesia choices for my total joint replacement?
A: Typically there are four options for anesthesia:

  1. Femoral nerve block catheter placement  plus general anesthesia
  2. Epidural/spinal neuroaxial technique plus sedation
  3. Femoral/nerve block and epidural/spinal technique with sedation
  4. General anesthesia

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Obstetrics - Epidural & Spinal Anesthesia

Purchase Anesthesia, PSC will work closely with your obstetrician to help you through the birthing process by offering pain relief to make the labor and delivery of your baby as safe and comfortable as possible.

We want you to make informed decisions about the care you will receive during the delivery of your baby, including the kind of anesthesia you choose. The following information about the state-of-the-art pain relief techniques we routinely use here at Lourdes Hospital will help you decide how you want to manage your labor pain.

The benefits of epidural and spinal anesthesia over systemic narcotics

There are two basic approaches for using medication to manage labor pain. One method uses systemic narcotics, such as Nubain®, which acts throughout your “system” or body by traveling through the bloodstream to the brain to “numb” the pain. The other methods – epidurals and spinals – are called regional anesthesia because the medication is administered into a specific region of the body to numb pain.

Systemic medications produce drowsiness and sedation in addition to pain relief while the epidural or spinal medication acts only locally, so you will be comfortable, alert and able to fully participate in the birthing process. Epidurals and spinals also require a smaller dose of medication to relieve the pain, resulting in less medication being transferred to your baby than with use of systemic narcotics.

Having an epidural catheter in place also provides “insurance” against the need for general anesthesia in the event of an emergency Cesarean section. Your anesthesiologist will simply administer a stronger local anesthetic through your epidural catheter.

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Pediatric Anesthesia

Pediatric anesthesia for ambulatory and same-day procedures

Having a surgical procedure can be a scary time for a child and stressful for his or her parents. Purchase Anesthesia, PSC wants to alleviate your concerns by helping you better understand the anesthesia process from start to finish and what is required of you before, during and after your child’s hospital visit.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why must my child fast before surgery?
A: Fasting prior to surgery is required to reduce the risk of your child breathing in any food or liquid while under anesthesia. While rare, this is very serious complication and parents need to strictly follow our recommendations and very specific policies regarding children’s ages and time periods for fasting, which are based on safety standards. We will recommend a fasting time that is as short as possible.

The following guidelines for fasting times prior to surgery apply to healthy patients who are having elective surgery. A history of diabetes or reflux may require longer fasting times:

  • Clear liquids – two hours
  • Breast milk – four hours
  • Infant formula – six hours
  • Nonhuman milk – six hours
  • Light meal – six hours

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Consent Form

Consent form coming soon. If you have any questions, please contact our office.