Which Anesthesia is Best for Me?

One of the most important jobs of your Anesthesia Care Team is to evaluate your medical status preoperatively and to assist you in choosing the most appropriate anesthetic for your surgery. The “choice” of a general versus a regional anesthetic is not as simple as deciding whether you want to be awake or asleep during your operation. There are certain medical conditions that may require the use of one over the other. Likewise, the particular type of operation may preclude the use of one over the other.

The ultimate choice of the anesthesia you receive will depend on your special circumstances – your operation and its length, your medical and surgical history, and your physical status. After consultation with your surgeon, you may want to discuss the various options available to you for your anesthesia.

What Happens To Me?


If you are to be admitted to the hospital a day or so prior to surgery, it is customary for a member of the Anesthesia Care Team to make a pre-op visit. Our Anesthesiologist will review your case, perform a brief physical exam and discuss the various anesthetic options available for you. Options will include relative benefits, limitations and risks associated with each type of anesthetic.

If you are admitted to the hospital on the day of your surgery, or if you have surgery as an outpatient, a Nurse Anesthetist may try to call you at home, or you may be seen in a pre-admit interview.

Sometimes, patients are not at home when the nurse calls, and the first and only contact with him/her is on the day of the surgery.

If you have a complicated medical/surgical history or have questions or worries, ask your surgeon and his/her office personnel to assist you in contacting your Anesthesiologist in advance of your surgery. At that time our Anesthesia Care Team will obtain the needed medical information and will review your case.

After your arrival at the hospital, you will have the opportunity to meet your CRNA and/ or Anesthesiologist in person. At this time you can discuss the anesthetic procedure in more detail or ask questions.

When your pre-op evaluation is completed, your Anesthesia Care Team member will research your medical, surgical and prior anesthetic history. If you have or have had high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, lung, liver, kidney or other serious conditions and diseases, be sure the doctor is aware of it. Allergies and intolerance to drugs, your current drug therapy, history of previous surgery and past experiences are also important.

After carefully considering the nature of your surgery, your overall health, medical history and the results of your lab tests, as well as your own concerns and preferences, your Anesthesiologist, in consultation with your surgeon, will make the final decision about the type of anesthesia that is safest and best for you.


On the day of surgery, the hospital nurses and personnel will be busy getting you prepared for your operation. Depending upon the circumstances, you may be given a sedative to relieve anxiety. Other medications may also be ordered to make you optimally prepared for a safe anesthetic journey through surgery.

Shortly before the scheduled time of your surgery, you will be moved from your room and taken to the surgical area. There you will be checked into the holding room or into the operating room. The operating room nurse will make a final identification check.


A member of our Anesthesia Care Team will insert a needle into a vein and start your IV. To keep the vein open and unclotted, a solution containing sugar or salt water will slowly drip into your IV. All injected medications will be painlessly given through a rubber port in the IV tubing.

When everything is ready, you will be taken into the operating room where your Anesthesiologist/ CRNA will attach you to the monitoring equipment – blood pressure cuff, electrocardiogram (EKG) leads and oxygen sensor. Then your Anesthesiologist/ CRNA will begin the anesthetic.

Whether you receive general or regional anesthesia, a trained professional in anesthesia will be with you at all times. In addition to managing the anesthetic, your Anesthesiologist/ CRNA will monitor your vital functions and give IV fluids to replace blood and body fluids normally lost during surgery.

When the surgery is finished, your Anesthesiologist/ CRNA will accompany you to the recovery room. If you have had general anesthesia, humidified oxygen will be administered to you through a plastic face mask or a nasal cannula while you are waking up.