Frequently Asked Questions
What is the normal recovery time for a general anesthetic?
Every patient is unique and responds to surgery differently. Your general health and the type and duration of surgery are major factors in recovery. In general, most people are awake enough to answer questions within 10 minutes following surgery but can remain sleepy for several hours afterward.
Should I do anything different for the first 24 hours following surgery?
We ask you to refrain from making important decisions or from driving a car for 24 hours after your surgery. Be aware that any medications taken in the post-operative period may interfere with your ability to operate machinery and make important decisions.
Is there an age over or under where it is not safe to have anesthesia?
No. Anesthesia can be performed safely in any age group. We are more concerned with chronic medical conditions and overall health than with actual age. Some people are quite healthy and active into their 80’s or 90’s while some are significantly limited by medical conditions at a much earlier age.
What do I do if not feeling well prior to surgery?
If you are ill with fever, chest cold, vomiting or diarrhea prior to surgery please contact your surgeon’s office to discuss the possibility of postponing your procedure.
When will I meet my anesthesiologist?
You will meet your anesthesiologist on the day of surgery in the preoperative holding area. Here, the anesthesiologist will perform a medical evaluation and discuss your options for different types of anesthesia. Your anesthetic plan will take into consideration may factors including your medical history, prior anesthetics, and the type of surgery to be performed.
Which of my current medicine should I continue taking or stop taking?
During your pre-surgical appointment you will be given instructions for each medicine you may be taking.
Why can’t I eat or drink before my operation?
Under anesthesia, you may loose control of the normal reflexes that prevent you from regurgitating or inhaling food into your lungs. This can lead to very serious complications including pneumonia or even death. For this reason, we ask you to refrain from eating anything 8 hours prior to your scheduled surgery. We further recommend that you eat a light meal for dinner then clear liquids only up until two hours prior to your surgery check in time. All NPO (nothing by mouth) instructions will be provided by the surgical team. Because we are concerned with your safety, we take this very seriously. If you are in violation of this policy, your surgery will most likely be postponed or canceled.
How do you put me to sleep?
Most anesthesiologists use a combination of medicines to put you to sleep. These medications are usually given through an intravenous line that is placed in one of the veins in your arm. Occasionally, especially in children, we will use a mask induction where you will inhale anesthetic gases that will cause you to go to sleep.
How will you keep me asleep?
After we have put you to sleep, a breathing device is placed either in the back of your mouth or into your throat. You will breath oxygen and anesthesia gases through this tube while additional medications may be given through your IV. We can continue to keep you asleep for as long as necessary.
Will I wake up during my operation?
Although intraoperative awareness, as it relates to General Anesthesia, is a real concern, it has received a great deal of sensationalized attention in the popular press. Fortunately, intraoperative awareness is very uncommon in actual anesthetic practice. We, at APC, treat this issue very seriously as well as all other anesthetic concerns. While you are under general anesthesia, we will vigilantly monitor your level of consciousness using a variety of techniques. Surgeries that are at a higher risk for intraperative awareness are cardiac surgery, major trauma surgery, and general anesthesia for C-Sections. If you have special concerns, be sure to mention them to your anesthesiologist.
How do you wake me up?
Once your surgery is complete, anesthetic agents are simply reduced or turned off and the patient wakes up on their own. Some medications may require a reversal agent to speed the awakening process. This is all part of the standard anesthetic plan.
Will I get nauseous after surgery?
Post operative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is a very serious concern in anesthesia. Your standard anesthetic plan will encompass measures designed to prevent nausea. We cannot promise that you will not experience nausea but we can promise to do everything possible to avoid this unpleasant situation. Please notify your anesthesiologist if you have had problems with nausea in the past, are sensitive to pain medications or have problems with motion sickness or vertigo.
Will I have pain after my surgery?
Almost all surgical procedures can cause the body to experience pain. Your anesthesiologist will work diligently to minimize any discomfort you may experience using medications and any other necessary techniques. Your plan for post-surgical pain control will vary based upon your specific procedure.
Does Anesthesia Partners of Colorado offer advanced post-operative pain management options?
We are proud to be able to say that APC has a world class Pain Management Service. We believe that our pain management service is one of the attributes that sets us apart from most other anesthesia groups. We offer our patients a variety of options including multimodal medication therapy and interventional pain procedures. We effectively utilize single shot nerve blocks and continuous nerve catheters which patients are often able to take home and continue to use even after they are discharged. Your specific pain plan will be discussed with you on your day of surgery and is a collaboration between you, your surgeon and your anesthesia team.
Will I need a ride home after my surgery?
If you plan on going home following your procedure, you must have a responsible adult drive you, and stay with you for the entire evening. You must not drive or operate heavy machinery for 24 hours following anesthesia. Follow the post-op instructions given to you by your surgeon.
Will I receive a separate bill from the anesthesiologist’s office?
Yes. In addition to the surgeon’s bill and the hospital’s bill, you will receive a separate bill for the services provided by your anesthesiologist. As a courtesy to you, our billing service will bill your insurance company directly. If you are a “self-pay” patient, have no insurance, or your insurance will not cover your elective procedure, please contact our office in advance of your procedure to make the necessary payment arrangements.
Do you accept various forms of payment?
Yes, we participate with most insurance companies and accept cash, checks and most major credit cards. If you should anticipate difficulty paying your bill because of financial hardship please contact us in advance so that we can help you work out some payment options. Payment plans must be arranged and approved in advance of the patient’s procedure.