safe, convenient and cost-effective
Today the majority of patients who undergo surgery or diagnostic tests do not need to stay overnight in the hospital. Ambulatory (or outpatient) anesthesia and surgical care has proven to be safe, convenient and cost-effective and can be performed in a variety of facilities. You may have your procedure done in a hospital, a freestanding surgery center or, in some cases, a surgeon’s office. Your anesthesia care will be given or supervised by an anesthesiologist.
What is ambulatory anesthesia?
How will I meet my anesthesiologist?
Your anesthesiologist or an associate will interview you before your operation on the day of surgery. You will receive a phone call from one of our Interview Nurse. He or she will ask detailed questions about your health and also your past anesthetics. When you arrive at our facility you will meet your anesthesia care team which includes the physical anesthesiologist and possibly a nurse anesthetist.
What types of anesthesia are available?
There are four anesthetic options:
- General anesthesia: This anesthetic choice produces unconsciousness so that you will not feel, see or hear anything during the surgical procedure. The anesthetic medications are given to you through an intravenous line or through an anesthesia mask.
- Regional anesthesia: This technique produces numbness with the injection of local anesthesia around nerves in a region of the body corresponding to the surgical procedure. Epidural or spinal blocks anesthetize the abdomen and both lower extremities. Other nerve blocks may be done with the nerves in the arms or legs to anesthetize individual extremities. With regional anesthesia, medications can be given that will make you comfortable, drowsy and blur your memory.
- Monitored anesthesia care (MAC): With this approach, you usually receive pain medication and sedatives through your intravenous line from your anesthesiologist. When receiving MAC sedation, you will feel drowsy and may even sleep through much of the procedure, but will be easily awakened when spoken to or touched. You may or may not remember being in the procedure or operation rooms. If needed surgeon also will inject local anesthesia into the skin, which will provide additional pain control during and after the procedure. While you are sedated, your anesthesiologist will monitor your vital body functions.
- Local anesthesia: The surgeon will inject local anesthetic to provide numbness at the surgical site. In this case, there may be no anesthesia team member with you.
Before receiving any sedatives or anesthetics, you will meet your anesthesiologist to discuss the most appropriate anesthetic plan. Your anesthesiologist will discuss the risks and benefits associated with the different anesthetic options. Occasionally it is not possible to keep you comfortable with regional, monitored or local anesthesia, and general anesthesia may be needed. Although uncommon, complications or side effects can occur with each anesthetic option even though you are monitored carefully and your anesthesiologist takes special precautions to avoid them. With this information, you will together determine the type of anesthesia best suited for you.
What about eating or drinking before my anesthesia?
Will I need someone to take me home?
Should I take my usual medicines?
The Interview Nurse will review with you what medications to take and what medications to skip.
What should I wear?
Day of Surgery
What happens before my surgery?
What happens during my surgery?
Recovery in the Surgical Facility
What can I expect after the operation until I go home?
Will I have any side effects?
When will I be able to go home?
What instructions will I receive?
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages or use nonprescription medications.
- Do not drive a car or operate dangerous machinery.
- Do not make important decisions.
You will be given telephone numbers to call if you have any concerns or if you need emergency help after you go home.
Recovery at Home
What can I expect?
SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR CHILDREN
Anesthesia can be safely administered to children in a hospital, a freestanding ambulatory center or a suitably equipped physician’s office. Many procedures for children are often done in such outpatient settings. Children benefit from the early return to comfortable and familiar surroundings. Parents benefit because of less time away from other family members and less interruption in their work schedules. On the day of surgery, your child should not eat solid food. The anesthesiologist may allow liquids to be given. PARENTS MUST PLAN TO STAY IN THE FACILITY DURING THEIR CHILD’S PROCEDURE. When possible, it is highly recommended that siblings and other children stay home. Upon arrival at the surgical facility, a nurse will check vital signs and orient you and your child. The anesthesiologist will conduct a preoperative interview and physical exam and discuss the anesthetic plan.
For most children, general anesthesia is the preferred form of anesthesia. Anesthesia may begin with intravenous medication, or with breathing anesthetic through a facemask, and then, an intravenous line may be placed after your child is asleep. This may be supplemented by local anesthesia injected by the surgeon or anesthesiologist to control postoperative pain. After surgery, your child will awaken in a recovery area where a nurse will check vital signs, the surgical site and pain control. Before going home, your child may be offered something to drink. Parents will receive detailed instructions regarding post-anesthetic and post-surgical care. All questions should be answered and you should feel comfortable taking your child home from the facility.
Be sure to follow the instructions given to you while at the surgical facility. These instructions are important to permit the fastest, safest and most pleasant recovery possible. If you have any questions, please feel free to call your anesthesiologist. Sometime after your ambulatory anesthesia and surgery, you will be contacted to see how you feel and if you had any problems. You may receive a telephone call from the surgical facility or a questionnaire to mail back. It is important to use this opportunity to let your caregivers know how you feel so they may provide the best possible care.
YOUR RIGHTS AS A PATIENT
Although you will not be spending the night in a hospital, you are still a patient and entitled to the same rights that hospitalized patients receive. You should be given an opportunity to speak to those involved in your anesthesia care. All questions involving how the anesthesia will be administered and the training and qualifications of those providing your anesthesia should be answered fully. Any concerns you have about the facility, billing, pain management and safety equipment should be addressed to your satisfaction before undergoing anesthesia. The professionals caring for you should treat you ethically and respect your privacy and dignity. If you feel uncomfortable about any aspect of your care, you have the right to refuse the planned treatment.
Please ask questions! Your experience will be easier if you know what usually happens and what you should expect. Remember, the focus of ambulatory anesthesia is on you, the patient.