Anesthesia can be confusing and scary for many patients. Take a look at this list of frequently asked questions to help ease your concerns. You may contact your provider if you have additional questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What about possible complications or side effects from anesthesia?

Serious complications are rare. Anesthesia is much safer and more effective than ever before.

Nausea and Vomiting may occur as the result of narcotic pain medicine, certain types of procedures and your own history of nausea or motion sickness. There are several medications available that decrease the incidence. Please inform us if you have a history of nausea and vomiting prior to your procedure.

Dental injury may be unavoidable. A tooth, cap, or bridge may become chipped or loosened when the anesthesiologist or CRNA is managing your breathing.

Sore throat is common along with some tongue or lip swelling after surgery.

Nerve injury that causes permanent loss of sensation or strength in part of the body is rare. 

Back injury from epidurals or spinals is not common. In fact, epidural injections are a common treatment for severe back pain. 

Serious complications like heart or lung failure are most often related to your pre­existing health and medical condition. Heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and severe obesity increase the risk of these complications. 

Why can’t I eat or drink before anesthesia?

Fasting before surgery is absolutely essential for your safety. After midnight on the night before your surgery, you should not eat or drink anything. This includes candy or gum, small amounts of water or juice. There is a risk of aspiration if there is anything in the stomach when anesthesia is given. Aspiration means that the contents of the stomach end up in the lungs and this can be life-threatening.

Will I wake up during my surgery?

This is an extremely rare but not impossible risk of anesthesia. In most instances, your anesthesiologist is able to give you sufficient medications to eliminate this possibility. In some severe emergencies, or in certain types of high-risk surgeries and sets of patient circumstances, it may not be possible to administer sufficient medication to both maintain life and eliminate this possibility in its entirety.

Some procedures may be completed under light or moderate sedation. In these cases, you may actually have scattered memory of events as you will not be “all the way under”.

Can I be in the room during my child’s procedure?

Because of the critical importance of maintaining a distraction free environment for the operating team and maintaining proper operating room procedures to ensure a clean and sterile environment, parents are not allowed in operating rooms during surgeries.

Will I have nausea or pain when I wake up?

Despite all efforts to prevent these unwanted consequences of surgery and anesthesia, it is possible that you will experience pain or nausea during recovery. If you experience pain or nausea, alert the nursing immediately. Some individuals are more prone to these symptoms than others. Fortunately, there are postoperative medications available to control pain, nausea and vomiting. Note that a sore throat after anesthesia is not uncommon, and should disappear within a day or two. If you experience a persistent sore throat, please contact our office or your surgeon for advice.