FAQs

What type of anesthesia is best for me?

Your medical history is taken by your anesthesia provider and the anesthetic plan is developed based on factors such as your physical condition, history, your reaction to medications, and the procedure you are having performed.

Is anesthesia safe?

New technologies, improved anesthetic drugs, advanced education for anesthesia providers, and high professional standards make this one of the safest aspects of a surgical procedure.

Who administers Anesthesia?

A CRNA or an anesthesiologist. CRNAs provide the highest quality, safe anesthesia services combined with a personal concern for health and welfare of our patients.

Are there any side effects of anesthesia?

There are always possible side effects with any procedure/anesthetic. You may feel tired and groggy, have a sore throat, feel cold, or have an upset stomach or nausea/vomiting. Medications can be given to reduce any side effects.

Will I feel anything during surgery?

During general anesthesia you are under a controlled unconsciousness or deep sleep that removes pain throughout the entire body. You go to sleep and feel nothing.

Will someone be watching over me and making sure I am safe and not feeling pain?

Your nurse anesthetist (CRNA) will be by your side throughout every part of your procedure. During anesthesia, your vital signs such as heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and oxygenation are constantly monitored to gauge the depth of anesthesia and your CRNA responds with modifications to ensure your comfort and safety.

What is NPO?

It literally means nothing per mouth. No food or beverage, ice chips or gum are allowed, usually starting at midnight the day before your procedure.

Why do I need to stop eating and drinking before anesthesia?

It is important that you remain NPO. Absolutely no food, drink, gum, or ice chips usually after midnight the day before surgery. This helps prevent you from vomiting while you are under anesthesia. This can be dangerous if it happens during anesthesia.

Why do I need to tell my anesthesia provider what supplements/herbs I am taking?

It is important because some supplements/herbs can interfere with the clotting process or with some medications.

Can I come alone to the hospital or should I bring someone?

It is important that you have a responsible adult with you to make sure you get home safely. The medications given during anesthesia may affect you for 24 hours after the last dose.

What prescription medications should I take the day of surgery?

You should only take the medications your doctor specifically told you to take the day of surgery with only a very small sip of water.

When should I arrive the day of my procedure?

You should arrive on time at the time told to you by the surgeon or facility where your procedure will be performed.

When can I eat after anesthesia?

It is recommended that you start slowly with clear liquids and slowly progress to a light meal. No alcohol should be consumed in the 24 hours after you have had an anesthetic.

Can I drive myself home if I feel OK after anesthesia?

The effects of anesthesia can remain with you for 24 hours after they are given. It is not safe to drive, operate machinery, or make important decisions during this time frame.

Does an epidural hurt?

Placement of an epidural should not be painful. Normally an injection of numbing medication like lidocaine is placed in the skin before starting. You may feel pressure during the procedure.

Will I be able to feel anything if I have an epidural or spinal block?

Normally you will be numb from about the waist down. You may be able to feel some touch and pressure and ideally you will be able to help push when it is time to do so (epidural).

What is Propofol? And is it safe?

Propofol is an IV drug used for sedation and in general anesthesia. It is a safe drug when used correctly by an anesthesia expert in a hospital or surgery center setting. When properly administered it is likely one of the safest drugs given in the OR. Possible side effects include decrease in blood pressure and slowed breathing. Close and careful monitoring and the ability of the nurse anesthetist or anesthesia professional to support breathing and correct the blood pressure keep the patient safe.

What is a CRNA?

A CRNA is a Certified Registered Nurse anesthetist. As advanced practice registered nurses, CRNAs practice with a high degree of autonomy and professional respect.

Where do CRNAs work?

CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities.

Are CRNAs safe anesthesia providers?

Numerous outcomes studies have demonstrated that there is no difference in the quality of care provided by CRNAs and their physician counterparts. Managed care plans recognize CRNAs for providing high-quality anesthesia care with reduced expense to patients and insurance companies. The cost-efficiency of CRNAs helps control escalating healthcare costs.

How long have CRNAs been providing anesthesia?

Nurse anesthetists have been providing anesthesia care to patients in the United States for nearly 150 years.

Do CRNAs have to practice with anesthesiologists?

No. CRNAs provide anesthesia in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists, and other qualified healthcare professionals. When anesthesia is administered by a nurse anesthetist, it is recognized as the practice of nursing; when administered by an anesthesiologist, it is recognized as the practice of medicine. Regardless of whether their educational background is in nursing or medicine, all anesthesia professionals give anesthesia the same way.

Can CRNAs provide all types of anesthesia?

Nurse anesthetists are highly trained to provide all types of anesthesia in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities.

Who will be my anesthesia provider in the small town I live in?

CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America, enabling healthcare facilities in these medically underserved areas to offer obstetrical, surgical, and trauma stabilization services. In Missouri, CRNAs are the sole providers in nearly 90 percent of the rural hospitals.