General Anesthesia

The anesthesiology faculty provides clinical anesthesia service for the full range of surgical and obstetrical procedures. Our anesthesiologists have specialty training in pediatric, obstetric, cardiovascular, thoracic, neurosurgical, and outpatient anesthesia, as well as with acute and chronic pain management. Please consult the specialty section for specific details on each area.

Our staff uses monitoring devices appropriate for routine care and seriously ill patients and practices safe techniques for sedating children. In addition, we offer post-operative pain control and pain management for women during labor, birth and the post-partum period.

Why do I need to be sedated for my diagnostic procedure?

While some procedures such as MRI scans are entirely painless, some procedures (such as endoscopic procedures) due involve some discomfort that would be uncomfortable for most adults. These procedures occur at a wide variety of locations within the medical center and an anesthesia team will be available to safely perform the sedation.

Why can't I eat or drink before the procedure?

You cannot eat or drink because you will be sedated for the procedure. Sedative medications may cause the muscles of the throat, esophagus and stomach to relax. This may allow food and other stomach contents to come up into the esophagus and throat and these contents may then go into the windpipe and lungs. This can result in severe lung infections. To minimize this risk, patients should not eat or drink before sedation.

What are the risks of sedation?

The majority of patients undergo sedation safely with no side effects or adverse events. The minor side effects of sedation include nausea, vomiting, mild allergic reactions, headache and dizziness. Some patients may experience prolonged or excessive sedation and in some, sedation may fail requiring the procedure to be performed with general anesthesia.

The more serious adverse effects of sedative medications are slowed breathing, decrease in blood pressure or abnormal heart rate and rhythm. These adverse effects are fortunately rare. These risks are further reduced by obtaining a detailed medical history, choosing the best sedative medications based on this history and by giving the medications in small doses and monitoring their effects closely. Also, careful observation and close monitoring of children during the procedure reduces risk from sedation. The most feared of the risks i.e. death and permanent injury are extremely rare and are further reduced by the above precautions.

How long does the sedation last? Will I need to stay in the hospital once the procedure is complete? When can I resume my normal activity?

Depending on the sedative medication used and your response, most patients are awake at the end of the procedure and ready to go home soon thereafter once specific discharge criteria are met. Most patients are able to resume their normal activity within a few hours after the procedure. This does not, however, include driving! You must arrange for transportation home from the hospital after you are discharged.