Having any type of surgery can be an uneasy moment for a patient. This is why the main objective of anesthesia consultants is to ensure patients are comfortable and understand the procedure before surgery. They also want to ensure they provide the safest possible anesthesia, by addressing any medical issues. The following are some things to expect during an anesthesia consultation.
What Information to Bring
An anesthesia consultation is the time when you are able to ask questions and learn about the various options available to you. During the consultation, you will meet with the anesthesiologist. During this time, the physician will review your medical records, including prior surgeries that you may have had. Any medications you are currently using or have used will be discussed. It may be helpful to bring any documents with a list of all your medications and your health history. If you are currently taking prescribed opioid medication, your anesthesiologist needs to know about it. The anesthesiologist also needs to know about any cold- or flu-like symptoms and history of blood clots.
What Questions You Will Be Asked
The anesthesiologist will also ask questions regarding allergies to specific medications or other items. This includes any allergies to latex or prior anesthesia medications. Additionally, complications, from prior anesthesia medications, should be discussed with your anesthesiologist.
During the consultation, the anesthesiologist will ask additional questions about any chronic medical conditions. This includes heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, and sleep apnea. Also, any prior tests that were done, such as an echocardiogram, EKG, stress test, blood studies, etc., will also be discussed. Any tests results will be clarified. Also, if you will benefit from additional tests, it will be given prior to the surgery. Any required appointments, regarding testing, will be scheduled prior to leaving the facility.
What to Expect During Exam
After going over your medical records, a focused exam will then be given. During this time, your airway, heart, and lungs will be examined. This ensures they are healthy enough to receive the anesthesia. You will, then, be provided with an explanation of the plan for during and after surgery. This will include regaining consciousness and the recovery process. It will also include how any discomfort and pain, after surgery, will be handled. Any questions or concerns you may have, about the surgical procedure, can be discussed, during this time. If there are different anesthesia options available, such as regional or general anesthesia, you will be provided with this information. Your preference will be asked and taken into consideration. Also, any common side effects will be discussed, including nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Treatments available, to help relieve these side effects, will also be discussed.
At the end of the anesthesia consultation, you will be given clear instructions, on what you should do, prior to and on the day of surgery. For example, the anesthesiologist may tell you to not eat or drink the day before surgery. The anesthesiologist may even instruct you to only drink small amounts of clear liquids, for up to two hours, prior to the scheduled surgery.
Also, the physician will notify you of medications you should or should not take. It could even be a few days leading up to the surgery. Any prescribed inhalers for breathing should be brought with you to surgery. If there is a special medication you should take the day of surgery, the anesthesiologist will discuss it with you. This includes instructions about how to take them. You will be provided with the type of anesthesia that will be given to you. You will then be cleared for surgery. Sometimes, things may change, by the day of surgery. However, stay open-minded and don’t be alarmed, if some changes do occur.