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Anesthesia FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Anesthesia

What are the different types of anesthesia?

General anesthesia  involves the complete loss of consciousness, which includes the loss of sensation, pain, and awareness. This is typically achieved by administering medications through an intravenous (IV) line, and is maintained by a combination of intravenous medications and inhaled anesthetic gases.

Monitored anesthesia care (MAC) or sedation involves the use of various intravenous medications to reduce pain and anxiety during various procedures. It is often used in combination with local anesthetics that are injected by the surgeon. Patients may or may not have any recall of events when MAC is used.

Regional anesthesia  produces a temporary loss of sensation and movement to a particular area of the body. In our practice, regional anesthesia may be used as the sole anesthetic method, or can be used in conjunction with either MAC or general anesthesia to provide postoperative pain relief.

Who provides anesthesia?

Anesthesiologists are highly skilled physicians that specialize in the field of anesthesiology. They provide total perioperative care of the surgical patient. This includes the preoperative evaluation, intraoperative care, and caring for the patient in the postoperative period. Anesthesiologists may also direct Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists or Anesthesiologist Assistants as part of the Anesthesia Care Team. In the Anesthesia Care Team model, the anesthesiologist works with either nurse anesthetists or anesthesiologist assistants in a supervisory manner. The ultimate decision making is the responsibility of the anesthesiologist. 

May I choose my anesthesiologist?

The surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center work with the Emory Specialty Associates – Anesthesiology. Our surgeons and anesthesiologists have designed this unique practice environment to best serve the needs of our patients. We realize that patients, as consumers may ask to have a specific anesthesiologist provide their care. If you have a specific request, let us know in advance and we will make every effort to accommodate you. Please realize that we may not be able to honor every request. 

Why can't I have anything to eat or drink before surgery?

For your safety it is important that your stomach be empty before you have surgery and anesthesia. Most of the drugs used for anesthesia will decrease the protective reflexes that prevent stomach contents from entering the lungs. This process, known as aspiration is a rare but serious complication that can cause significant damage. In general, we ask that you have nothing to eat or drink after midnight, on the evening before your surgery. 

What are the risks of anesthesia?

Fortunately the risks of serious complications from anesthesia are extremely rare. Some medical conditions will put patients at an increased risk during surgery. Your anesthesiologist is trained to identify potential patient risks, and to intervene when medical complications arise. We encourage you to talk with your surgeon and anesthesiologist about your medical conditions, so that we may identify potential risks in advance. 

Should I take my medications before surgery?

It depends. Many medications and herbal supplements will interact with the medications that are used to administer anesthesia. Please discuss all of the medications and supplements that you are currently taking prior to the day of surgery. 

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