Q.  What is anesthesia?

A. Anesthesia is the process by which a patient is made comfortable during a medical or dental procedure.  This is accomplished with the use of medication that allows the patient to sleep or makes a particular part of the body numb.

Q. What types of anesthesia are there?

A. There are three ways in which anesthesia is provided:
General anesthesia- the patient is completely asleep and may need help breathing through the use of a breathing tube.

Regional anesthesia- the patient is sedated and relaxed while local anesthesia (ie. lidocaine) is used to numb part of the body.  Examples of regional anesthesia include spinal, epidural, axillary, digital or ankle blocks.

Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC)-  the patient is sedated and relaxed.  The surgeon may or may not use small amounts of local anesthesia to make the skin numb.

For more details and information, we invite you to contact our Department of Anesthesia at 603-536-1120 x370 or visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists web site at www.asahq.org/patient Education for more patient information.

Q. Who provides anesthesia?

A. Anesthesia is provided by anesthesiologists (physicians specially trained in anesthesia) and CRNA’s (nurses with special training in anesthesia)

Q. Can I eat before surgery?

A. A fasting period is essential to patient safety. The objective is to empty the stomach so the risk of inhaling stomach contents into the lungs is reduced. Therefore, do not eat, chew (including gum or candy), or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.  For your safety, surgery may be delayed or cancelled if you eat or drink.

Q. Which medications should I take prior to surgery?

A. Taking certain medication on the day of surgery improves your safety as other medication can make your care more difficult. You will be told what medication to take and what not to take.
If you are a diabetic you will also be told what medication to take and what not to take.

Q. Will I receive a meal before going home?

A.  It is best to eat lightly for the first several hours following your surgery or procedure in order to prevent nausea/vomiting. Food options in the Surgical Services unit include: muffins, pudding, applesauce, Jell-O, saltines, graham crackers, soda, coffee, and a variety of juices.

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