What to Keep in Mind Before the Surgery
At Texans Anesthesia Associates, we strive to provide the best care and experience throughout the surgery. Please share all the important details about your health with your doctor so we can best optimize you for surgery.
In addition, if you are currently taking medication, let the doctor know the number and frequency of the dosages. These include all medication types, such as:
- Prescription Medication
- Nonprescription Medicine
- Nutritional Supplements
- Herbal Supplements
- Weight-Loss Medication
Some home medications may interfere with medications that are administered during surgery. We will guide and prepare you for surgery during pre-anesthesia testing.
Pre-Anesthesia Testing (PAT)
Pre-Anesthesia Testing (PAT) is one of the preliminaries before your scheduled surgery. You will be asked questions over a phone call or required to make an appointment with the PAT department if the need arises. This step is crucial to prepare you for the surgery and if you need specific lab work or testing for pre-surgery evaluation.
Once your surgery is scheduled, you will receive a phone call from the PAT office for confirmation about the following:
- Medical History – to ensure you’re comfortable with having surgery and if the medical issues need special arrangements.
- Medications You Take – to inform you about continuing or discontinuing the medications.
- Known allergies and reactions to plan accordingly
- Previous surgical history
You might have to schedule a PAT appointment if you need additional lab work or testing. Testing can include the following:
- Blood Test
- Urine Test
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Imaging studies
Finally, we will discuss your anesthesia plan and your preference according to the availability of anesthetics. You will have the opportunity to discuss your anesthetic plan on the day of surgery.
Food, Drink, and Medications
You will be given instructions on when to stop eating or drinking fluids prior to surgery. This is so you will have an empty stomach during surgery to prevent pulmonary aspiration – a condition in which stomach secretions reach the throat and drain into the lungs. We recommend not eating or drinking anything except for prescribed medications with a sip of water after midnight the evening before your surgery.
Please remember not to smoke, vape, chew tobacco, and avoid alcohol at all costs before 24 hours of your planned surgery.
Day of Surgery
Before You Visit
The pre-op area is where the final surgical preparations take place. You will be taken to the operating room once the preliminaries are completed. Here’s what to expect during surgery pre-op:
Your nurse will take your vital signs and ask questions to confirm your contact information and medical history (including questions about Covid-19 symptoms).
Please be mindful that you might be asked similar questions repeatedly, but that is only to ensure your details are correct.
Your nurse will provide a warm blanket connected to a warm-air source. Doing this helps prevent heat loss while you sleep in the operating room.
If you are an adult, your nurse will place an intravenous (IV) line – this must be placed before surgery.
You will meet your anesthesiologist, who will review your medical history, evaluate you, and discuss your anesthetic plan for the surgery. You might also meet a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) who will take you to the operating room.
If you have a regional block anesthesia plan, it will take place in the preoperative area. The following actions will be performed to complete the process:
- You may be administered medication to reduce anxiety and pain.
- The anesthesiologist will use an ultrasound or nerve stimulator machine to guide the needle to the appropriate location.
- You will be injected with a numbing injection at this point.
- The area will remain highly numb for approximately several hours after the injection. The numbness will subside gradually within 12-24 hours.
If you have an epidural planned as the preferred choice for anesthesia, then the following actions will be performed:
- A time-out with the preoperative nurse and the anesthesiologist to consider several aspects of the procedure.
- A medication administration will be used to lower your anxiety and pain.
- Numbing medication will be placed in your back.
- A needle will be used to locate the precise spot in your back – this space is called the epidural space.
- A small, flexible catheter will be used to deliver numbing and pain medication during and after surgery.
Day of Surgery
Once in the operating room, the operating room staff will place several monitors on you to monitor your vitals, such as your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level. From here onwards, the steps will depend on the chosen anesthetic plan.
For general anesthesia, an oxygen mask will be placed. You will receive medications through your IV to make you fall asleep. A device or tube will be placed to help you breathe. The staff will closely monitor your hemodynamics and ensure you are asleep and comfortable. We will also make sure your vital signs are stable. By the surgery’s end, we will ensure you breathe well independently after we remove the breathing device.
You may be requested to sit on the operating room table if you received spinal anesthesia. We will clean your back with a cleaning solution. Afterward, a numbing medication will be placed. You will then be laid down on the operating room table, and medication will be placed into your IV so you can relax and fall asleep.
In case of IV sedation (monitored anesthesia care) or a regional block, you will be given supplemental oxygen via the nose or a mask. You will receive additional medications through your IV to make you relaxed and sleepy. The surgeon will inject more numbing medication at the area they will be working on.
Post-Anesthesia Care and Recovery
Once your surgery is complete, you will be transferred to the recovery room, where nurses will watch your vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respirations) as you wake up. You will be discharged home once you have met all the criteria to go home and are accompanied by an adult family member or friend.