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General Anesthesia

What is general anesthesia?

General anesthesia is medicine to help keep you asleep, relaxed, and pain free during a procedure or surgery. The medicine is given through your IV or, it may be a gas that is inhaled. Your healthcare provider usually uses both the inhaled and the IV medicines together.

How can I prepare for anesthesia?

If you smoke, your healthcare provider will instruct you to stop at least 24 hours before you have anesthesia. He will tell you not to eat or drink after a certain time. This decreases your chance of problems during and after surgery. He will tell you what medicines you can or cannot take. Tell your healthcare provider if you or any family member has had any problems with anesthesia in the past. Your healthcare provider will instruct you to not wear makeup or nail polish. Arrange to have someone drive you home from the hospital.

What else do I need to know about anesthesia?

You may receive an IV antibiotic before your procedure or surgery. A breathing tube may be placed down your throat once you are asleep. You may instead have a mask placed over your nose and mouth. The breathing tube or mask will be hooked to oxygen and monitored by your healthcare provider. He will also monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing during your procedure. He may need to give you more medicine to keep you asleep during your procedure. The amount and type of medicine will depend on any medical condition you may have.

What happens after general anesthesia?

You will be taken to a room where you can rest until you are awake. You may be cold after waking up from anesthesia. You may also have nausea, vomiting, and a sore throat. Depending on your surgery or procedure, you will be taken to your hospital room or sent home. Do not drive yourself home. It is best if you can have someone stay with you for 24 hours after you have general anesthesia. Do not make important decisions for 24 hours after you receive anesthesia.

What are the risks of general anesthesia?

You could have a severe reaction to the medicine. The medicine may cause nausea and vomiting. The medicine may also cause you to have a seizure, a very high fever, or a heart attack. These conditions may be life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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