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NAH Joint Replacement Program

Anesthesia and you

You will see an anesthesiologist when you check in for your surgery. The following types of anesthesia are available:

  • General Anesthesia provides loss of consciousness.
  • Regional Anesthesia involves the injection of a local anesthetic to cause numbness, pain relief or loss of sensation to a large region of the body. Regional anesthetic techniques include spinal blocks, epidural blocks, or arm leg blocks. Medications can be given to make you drowsy and blur your memory. It is routine to have no recall of the surgery or peri-operative period. 
Your anesthesiologist will discuss the risks and benefits associated with the different anesthetic options, as well as any complications or side effects that can occur with each type of anesthetic. Nausea or vomiting may be related to anesthesia or the type of surgical procedure. Although less of a problem today because of improved anesthetic agents and techniques, these side effects continue to occur for some patients. Medications to treat nausea and vomiting can be given if needed. The amount of discomfort you experience may depend on several factors, especially the type of surgery. Your doctors and nurses can relieve pain with medications. Your discomfort should be tolerable, but do not expect to be pain-free.
You will meet your anesthesiologist immediately before your surgery. Your anesthesiologist will review all information needed to evaluate your general health. This will include your medical history, laboratory test results, allergies, and current medications. Together, with this information, you will determine the type of anesthesia best suited for you. He or she will also answer any further questions you may have. On surgery day, you will also meet your surgical nurses. Intravenous fluids will be started and pre-operative medications may be given, if needed. Once in the operating room, monitoring devices will be attached such as a blood pressure cuff, EKG, and other devices for your safety. At this point, you will be ready for anesthesia.
Your anesthesia provider is responsible for your comfort and well-being before, during, and immediately after your surgical procedure. In the operating room, the anesthesia provider will manage vital functions, including heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, body temperature, and breathing. The anesthesiologist is also responsible for fluid and blood replacement when necessary.
After surgery, you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, or PACU. Specially trained nurses will watch you closely. During this period, you may be given extra oxygen and your breathing and heart functions will be observed closely. An anesthesiologist is available to provide care as needed for your safe recovery.