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Procedure: FAQ Anesthesia

FAQ Anesthesia

1. Who will be administering my anesthetic?

Anesthesia will be provided by a medical doctor who is board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology.

2. Is it safer to have surgery at a hospital than an office surgery center?

No, for healthy patients, there is no difference in outcome for procedures performed in an outpatient center versus a hospital. Patients who are morbidly obese or those who have serious medical problems will be operated on at a local hospital should any problems arise related to their specific health issues. The majority of patients, however, will benefit from having their surgery at the office surgical center, where service is more personalized and efficient, and the setting is calm and familiar. The Haworth Institute maintains a licensed and certified operating room (The Beverly Hills Surgical Center) which has all of the specific equipment needed to optimally ensure your safety during surgery.

3. How long do I have to stop eating before surgery?

Your anesthesiologist will discuss the specific details, but most patients should not ingest solid food for six hours before surgery, and clear liquids may only be taken up to four hours prior to surgery. You may brush your teeth and rinse your mouth out with water the morning of surgery, and if necessary, a pill may be taken with just a sip of water.

4. What are potential complications of anesthesia?

Anesthesia is extremely safe due to advances in patient monitoring and improved anesthetic agents. Serious complications occur in less than one in 100,000 patients. More common problems that can occur include postoperative nausea and sore throat. We use a regimen of several anti-nausea agents that has been shown to reduce postoperative nausea to less than five percent. We minimize the incidence of sore throat by using a small endotracheal tube with a low cuff inflation pressure. We take great care to avoid other infrequent complications including dental damage, nerve injury, and cardiovascular problems.

5. What is the risk of intraoperative awareness?

Intraoperative awareness (being awake during surgery) occurs in less that 0.2% of all patients undergoing surgery, occurring more commonly in high risk procedures like childbirth and trauma. Anesthesia at the Haworth Institute is administered carefully and precisely to avoid this problem using a balanced technique with both intravenous and inhalational medications.

6. What other precautions are taken to avoid complications?

During surgery, compression stockings are used to prevent blood clots from forming in the lower extremities. A forced-air warming blanket is placed around each patient to closely maintain their body temperature, and padding is used under all extremities, keeping them in a flexed position to prevent nerve injuries and muscle pain.

7. How long can I be under anesthesia safely?

Most anesthetic agents are short acting, and are rapidly cleared out of the body. There is no increased anesthetic risk for longer procedures, and the majority of patients are discharged awake, alert, and comfortable within one hour after the surgery.

8. What information does the anesthesiologist need to know about me before the procedure?

The anesthesiologist will call you the day before surgery to discuss what time you should arrive for surgery, when you should stop eating and drinking, your medical history and what medicines you need to take or stop prior to surgery. If you have any questions or concerns, especially previous problems with anesthesia or severe medication allergies, they should be addressed at this time as well as on the day of surgery. After your arrival at the Haworth Institute, on the morning of surgery, the anesthesiologist will further review your medical history, reevaluate your blood tests and diagnostic studies, and perform a limited physical examination.

9. Will I have pain after the surgery?

Most patients wake up without pain. We utilize a multimodal approach to pain treatment, administering medications before the surgery begins, during the surgery, and afterward if needed. Generous use of local anesthetic coupled with oral and intravenous medications preempt the pain response. Additionally, for some surgeries, pain blocks or pain pumps are utilized in combination with oral medications to minimize postoperative discomfort.

10. Can I go home after surgery? When can I drive?

For most procedures, you can return home after surgery under the care of a friend or family member. For longer, more involved surgeries, or for patients with special concerns, an aftercare facility may be ideal. Under no circumstances can a patient who received any type of sedation or anesthesia drive him or herself home. Although you may feel perfectly normal several hours after surgery, it is recommended that you refrain from driving until the following day.

Randal Haworth, MD
436 North Bedford Drive Suite 105
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 273-3000 (310) 273-8802 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.