Anesthesia

Important information about anesthesia for your surgery.

CHA has a highly skilled team from Anaesthesia Associates of Massachusetts (AAM). Our physician specialists and skilled nurse anesthetists are essential members of CHA's perioperative team.

The anesthesia team helps you during and after your procedure. They are at your side throughout surgery.

You will meet with your anesthesia team as part of your pre-surgery appointment. Please come with questions. You can also visit www.aamweb.com for more information about anesthesia. This will help you come to the hospital prepared.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is anesthesiology?

A medical specialty focused on the safe management of anxiety and pain during surgical procedures. The different types of anesthesia are:

  • MONITORED anesthesia: Monitored intravenous sedation is used for minor, shorter and easier surgical procedures when injection of a local anesthetic is not enough but deeper general anesthesia is also not needed. Depending on the type of surgery, you may need less sedation (you will feel drowsy but able to talk) or more (heavy sleep where you probably will not recall the procedure). The surgeon may use a local anesthetic to minimize or eliminate discomfort while receiving intravenous sedation.
  • REGIONAL anesthesia: A specific body area is made numb with the injection of a local anesthetic (e.g. epidural, spinal, nerve block).
  • GENERAL anesthesia: (when a patient is unconscious and pain free during surgical procedures). A tube may be placed in your throat once unconscious to help you breathe.

How will I feel after anesthesia?

It varies. Some patients feel fine when they wake up. Others may shiver, feel drowsy, nauseous and/or want to vomit. If you get motion sickness or postoperative nausea/vomiting, please tell your anesthesia team before surgery so that they can minimize the likelihood of that happening.

Will I get a sore throat after general anesthesia?

Your throat may be sore from the breathing tube. Soreness is not directly related to how gently the tube is placed. It could happen even after an easy tube placement. Tell your anesthesia team if you have a sensitive throat.

Can I drive myself home after anesthesia?

No! Someone must be available to take you home safely or your surgery will be cancelled. It may take a day or longer for the anesthesia medications to completely leave your system. This may cause patients to be sleepy, with poor reflexes and judgement. Patients should not use any heavy machinery or sign any legal documents for at least 24 hours after anesthesia. The same may be true for medications given after surgery. Please talk with your surgeon regarding things you can and cannot do if you take any postoperative pain medication after surgery.

What is the best way to prepare for anesthesia?

Learn about your procedure and the type of anesthesia that will be used. Discuss your medical history and lifestyle habits with your care team. This information will help the anesthesia team understand how you might react to anesthesia and it will help them take steps to lower any side effects.

Write down your questions and discuss them when you meet your anesthesia team.

Please bring a list of your medications that you take with their names, when you take them and the time and date of your last dose when you come for your preoperative appointment on the day of surgery. For more information, visit www.aamweb.com.

Why must I fast after midnight before my scheduled procedure?

You may be instructed to not eat or drink anything after midnight before your scheduled procedure. Aspiration is a rare risk of food or liquid in your stomach getting into your lungs while you are under anesthesia. We want to minimize this risk. Talk to your anesthesia providers for guidance. You may be told to take your regular medications with a sip of water on the day of your procedure. It is extremely important that you adhere to given preoperative instructions.