Anesthesia – Important Questions to Ask

Anesthesia and Your Surgery

Many of you have heard of local anesthetic, something you receive when having a procedure like a dental crown. However, when undergoing a more extensive full body procedure, like the type of body re-contouring surgery Dr. Bartell performs, you will need what is called a General Anesthetic.

What is Anesthesia?

The term is used to describe a medication, or combination thereof, which is used to numb ones pain receptors so one does not feel pain during surgery. In some cases, rendering a person completely unconscious during the entire course of the surgery.

Types of anesthesia include:

  • General
  • Deep Sedation
  • Conscious Sedation (Twilight)
  • Regional
  • Local

How is General Anesthesia Administered?

After a health history interview with your nurse and anesthesia care provider, an intravenous (IV) catheter is placed for the administration of fluid and medication. You will breathe oxygen through a mask and then anesthesia medication is administered through your IV which will drift you peacefully off to sleep. The sleep you experience during a general anesthetic is a very deep sleep that renders you completely unconscious, so you will not be aware of any surgical stimulation or pain, and have no memory of your surgical procedure.

When a patient wakens after a general anesthetic they feel as if they slept through the entire procedure and may continue to feel drowsy throughout the remainder of the day. Even though the patient is awake again, the anesthetics take some time to flush completely from the body.

This can effect balance, dexterity, thinking, memory, and judgement. As such, your surgeon will instruct you to have a friend or family member with you for 24 hours after your surgery, which includes driving you to your surgical appointment. Your guardian will have strict instructions on how to take care of you after your surgery. Their tasks include, among others, driving you to and from your surgical appointment, assisting you when you walk anywhere in your home, assisting with activities of daily living, and even answering your phone for you. If you take a phone call in the first 24 hours after surgery, you may not remember the conversation.

Who Will Be Performing Your Anesthetic?

Dr. Bartell is very discerning about the staff he entrusts with your care. A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) with over 24 years of experience in nursing, 17 years of experience in anesthesia, and 10 years of experience in the specialty of cosmetic ambulatory surgery will be providing your anesthesia care for your surgery with Dr. Bartell.

Nurse anesthetists are Master’s prepared in the specialties of nursing and anesthesia, have been providing safe and effective anesthesia care to patients in the United States for more than 150 years, are the primary sole anesthesia care providers across much of rural America, and have been the main providers of anesthesia care to U.S. military personnel on the front lines since WWI.

Your comfort and safety is the top priority of Dr. Bartell, your anesthesia care provider, and the entire staff. You can expect a high quality and safe anesthetic that is geared toward an easy and comfortable experience to get you timely on your way home to begin your post surgical recovery.

Are There Dangers?

There are risks to having anesthesia. Some factors that can increase your chances of a complication include:

  • heavy alcohol consumption
  • smoking cigarettes or use of illicit drugs
  • obesity
  • sleep apnea
  • asthma or other breathing disorders
  • heart or vascular disease
  • diabetes
  • liver or kidney dysfunction
  • neuromuscular disorders

If any of the above factors apply to you, be sure to go over them in detail with your doctor prior to surgery. Serious risks of anesthesia include infection, stroke, heart attack, and even death. While extremely rare, these dangers can be better avoided by optimizing your health prior to surgery, following all instructions before and after your surgery, and communicating openly with your doctor.


Questions to Ask About Anesthesia

  1. What type of anesthesia do you use at your clinic?
  2. Based on my health history and medication list, which type is best for me?
  3. What are the side effects?
  4. How will you be monitoring me while I am under anesthesia?
  5. When will the anesthesia wear off?
  6. What risks should I be aware of?
  7. How soon before my procedure do I need to stop eating and drinking?
  8. Which medications and/or supplements should I take or not take prior to my surgery?
  9. How long will I need to stay in the office after my procedure?
  10. What will my restrictions be after my surgery?

What Your Doctor Needs to Know

During your initial consultation at Dr. Bartell’s office you will need to fill out a detailed patient summary. This will include basic information such as your home address, phone number, emergency contact, and insurance (if applicable). There is also a very important section that asks in depth questions about your health history, including previous surgeries, hospitalizations, medical conditions, and medications you currently take. It will be important for you to bring this information with you to your initial appointment.

Just like following your pre-op instructions precisely, it cannot be stressed enough that patients are completely honest and thorough in providing information to Dr. Bartell and his staff. Lying or leaving out any information can lead to complications during and after your surgery, as well as the possibility of an unexpected cancellation of your procedure.

Your Surgery Will Go Smoothly With Dr. Bartell

Dr. Thomas Bartell has been performing below the neck body re-contouring procedures for over 20 years and is a board certified Plastic Surgeon. He and his trusted staff will be there every step of the way before, during, and after your procedure. If you have any questions whatsoever regarding anesthesia or anything else, he is only a phone call away. Schedule your consultation with him today!