Guiding you through surgery safely and comfortably is our priority. Your anesthesia care will be either personally provided by one of our physician anesthesiologists (M.D./D.O.), or by a care team including a physician anesthesiologist and a nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Although you may have received a phone call or had a preoperative anesthesia appointment, you will also meet your anesthesia care team prior to surgery.
General anesthesia makes you completely unaware of your surroundings and of any painful stimuli. An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist is present with you through the entirety of your procedure, to ensure that you receive the appropriate level of anesthesia.
What is General Anesthesia?
General anesthesia acts primarily on the brain and central nervous system. It is administered by a combination of gases you breathe in, and injected medications. Anesthesia is maintained with inhaled gas anesthetics and/or medications through an intravenous catheter ("IV"). Often, but not always, your anesthesiologist may insert a breathing tube or similar device to assist your breathing during your surgery.
What are the risks?
All operations and anesthesia involve some degree of risk. The nature of your operation and your overall pre-operative condition are important factors that are considered when estimating the risks for your particular operative experience. Your anesthesiologist will review your specific risks, and prepare an anesthetic plan tailored for you.
What are common side effects?
As with all medicines, anesthetics may have side effects. Common side effects of general anesthesia include sleepiness, grogginess, nausea (“sick stomach”) or vomiting, and sore throat from airway devices. Nausea can be reduced in many cases by anti-nausea medicines that you will receive during and after surgery. If you have a past history of nausea after surgery, please tell your anesthesia providers, and they will tailor your care to minimize it.
Should I quit smoking?
Yes! Quitting before your surgery is going to improve your recovery and wound healing. We advise you to quit smoking as soon as you are able. Smoking is known to increase pulmonary complications, impair surgical wound healing, delay fracture healing, and increase the likelihood of infection. Best results are achieved if you are able to quit 6-8 weeks prior to surgery, however quitting at anytime is better for you and your overall health and we strongly encourage it.
If you are ready to quit, please seek help with your primary care doctor, and/or access the resources below.
Washington State Tobacco Quitline: 1-800-784-8669
Multicare Tobacco Cessation Help
Where can I learn more about general anesthesia?
To learn more about general anesthesia, please visit: Anesthesia 101