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Anesthesiology: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will I experience nausea while under treatment with anesthesia?

The nature of the surgery being performed, along with individual factors such as age and gender, affect a patient's likelihood of experiencing nausea and/or vomiting. However, significant advances in techniques, monitoring, and medication have greatly minimized the risk.

Why must I fast before receiving anesthesia? Does it really matter if I eat after midnight (or the time specified by the anesthesiologist)?

Though it may seem inconvenient, fasting before receiving anesthesia is an important precaution required for your comfort and safety. Anesthetics relax the body and remove natural protective reflexes. Any recently ingested materials may passively travel upward through the esophagus, becoming a potentially dangerous aspiration hazard. During your pre-operative visit, you'll discuss fasting with the anesthesia team and develop a plan specifically for you.

I have Diabetes - Is it safe to fast?

Diabetic patients often have concerns about the impact of pre-operative fasting on their blood sugar levels. Individual needs will be discussed in the pre-operative interview, and a plan will be made to ensure safety before, during and after surgery.

What medications, if any, should I take the morning of my surgery?

This is another topic that will be discussed in the pre-operative interview. Typically, patients are directed to take all medications for blood pressure and heart conditions, and to bring all asthma inhalers and medications with them. Other medications will be discussed during the interview.

If I elect to have spinal anesthesia, will I be required to lay flat for 12 hours? Will my risk for post-anesthetic headache or other side effects increase?

Just as there have been great advances in anesthetic medicines, much progress has also been made in delivery of these medications. The risk of side effects has been greatly minimized by refinements in the size and shape of the needles used to administer spinal anesthetics. Bed rest following administration is no longer required, and the chance of post-operative headache and other side effects is equal to or lower than the risks from general anesthesia.