An anesthesia care provider will be will you from before your surgery begins through recovery to administer anesthesia and monitor your progress.
Today, anesthesia practice is designed to provide each patient with finely tuned doses of medicine so that the transition to alertness for most people is much smoother and comfortable than even five years ago. In addition to the recovery process, the new technology makes anesthesia safer than ever. Your doctor will discuss which options for anesthesia may be right for you and the procedure you are having.
Lowell Anesthesiology Services, Inc. is a group of Anesthesiologists and Nurse Anesthetists who work alongside Lowell General Hospital surgeons to provide anesthesia services and patient care during and immediately following surgery. Led by Dr. Harohalli Vijayakumar, Chief of Anesthesiology, anesthesiologists are present in the hospital 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week to ensure that they are available for emergency surgical procedures as well as the late-night baby about to be born.
To Our Patients
We have prepared this information to help you and your family better understand what modern anesthesia is, so that you may help make well-informed decisions about your care. Our main goal is to provide you with the best care possible during your surgery as well as safe relief from pain.
More than 25 million surgical procedures are performed each year in the United States alone. Clearly, the health and well being of almost everyone you know has been touched by the science of anesthesiology.
In order to achieve a clear understanding of your needs, information regarding your medical condition will be obtained by your anesthesia provider either on the day of surgery, the day preceding surgery, or a few days before surgery during your preoperative visit. Frequently, at such preoperative visits, blood and laboratory tests, or other preliminary examinations, such as ECG or x-rays will be completed.
This prior evaluation gives you the opportunity to discuss your medical history, various anesthetic options and their risks, and pertinent questions of concern with the anesthesiologist. It also gives you the chance to learn about the many safety precautions that your anesthesiologist will provide during your surgery.
You should bring a list of all the medications that you take on a regular basis or have taken recently with you to the preoperative visit. It is best to include the dose information from the medication label on your list.
Providing your anesthesia provider with your detailed medical history and drug list is very important. This information, combined with the laboratory data from your tests, is the basis upon which many anesthetic decisions are made.
For most procedures you will be told to fast the night before your operation. It is very important that you do not eat or drink anything during that time unless otherwise instructed by your anesthesia provider.
Are there different kinds of anesthesia?
There are three main categories of anesthesia:
- and local
Each has many forms and uses.
In general anesthesia, you are unconscious and have no awareness or other sensations. There are a number of general anesthesia drugs. Some are gasses or vapors inhaled through a breathing mask or tube and others are medications introduced through a vein. During anesthesia, you are carefully monitored, controlled and treated by your anesthesia provider, who uses sophisticated equipment to track all your major bodily functions. A breathing tube may be inserted through your mouth and frequently into the windpipe to maintain proper breathing during this period. The length and level of anesthesia is calculated and constantly adjusted with great precision. At the conclusion of surgery, your anesthesia provider will reverse the process and you will regain awareness in the recovery room.
In regional anesthesia, an injection is made near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. Nowadays, there are sophisticated devices which help the anesthesia provider to locate the nerves that need to be blocked for a specific procedure. During regional anesthesia, you may remain awake, or you may be given a sedative. You do not see or feel the actual surgery take place. There are several kinds of regional anesthesia. Two of the most frequently used are spinal anesthesia and epidural anesthesia, which are produced by injections made with great exactness in the appropriate areas of the back. They are frequently preferred for childbirth and prostate surgery.
In local anesthesia, the anesthetic drug is usually injected into the tissue to numb just the specific location of your body requiring minor surgery, for example, on the hand or foot.
May I request what type of anesthesia I will receive?
Yes, in certain situations. Some operations can be performed using different anesthetic procedures. Your anesthesiologist, after reviewing your individual situation, will discuss any available options with you. If there is more than one type of anesthetic procedure available, your preference should be discusses with your anesthesiologist in order for the most appropriate anesthetic plan to be made.
What are the risks of anesthesia?
All operations and all anesthetics have some small risks, and they are dependent upon many factors including the type of surgery and the medical condition of the patient. Fortunately, adverse events are very rare. Your anesthesia provider takes precautions to prevent an accident from occurring just as you do when driving a car or crossing the street.
The specific risks of anesthesia vary with the particular procedure and the condition of the patient. You should ask your anesthesia provider about any risks that may be associated with your anesthesia.
To help anesthesia providers to provide the best and safest patient care possible, national standards have been developed by the American Society of Anesthesiologists to enhance the safety and quality of anesthesia. Specific standards already have been developed regarding patient care before surgery, basic methods of monitoring patients during surgery, patient care during recovery, and for conduction anesthesia in obstetrics. New standards continue to be developed to further ensure patient safety. These standards, along with today's sophisticated monitoring and anesthesia equipment as well as improved medications and techniques, have contributed enormously toward making anesthesia safer than ever before.
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