Before Surgery

Asesthesia and surgery affect your entire body, so it is important for those providing your anesthesia to know as much about you as possible. Before your surgery, you may be scheduled for a visit with your anesthesiologist to review your medical history and your physical condition. This visit might be scheduled by the nurse who performs your pre-surgery phone interview.

You should bring a list of all medications that you take on a regular basis or have taken recently with you to the preoperative visit and/or on the day of your surgery. It is best to include the dose information from the medication label on your list. The dose is commonly shown in milligrams (mg). For example, 100mg stands for 100 milligrams. If a phone registration is done, have your medications handy to give the nurse.

Providing your anesthesiologist with your detailed medical history and drug list is very important. This information and the laboratory date from your tests are the basis upon which many anesthetic decisions are made.

Cigarettes and alcohol affect your body just as strongly and sometimes more than any of the medically prescribed drugs you may be taking. Because of their various effects on your lungs, heart, liver and blood, cigarette or alcohol consumption can change the way an anesthetic drug will work during surgery.  It is crucial to let your anesthesiologist know about your consumption of these substances.

This is also true for “street drugs” such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, etc. People are sometimes reluctant to discuss such things, but all conversations between you, your doctor and nurse are confidential. Your anesthesiologist’s only interest in this subject is in learning enough about your physical condition to provide you with the safest anesthesia possible. In this case, honesty is the best and safest policy.

Please advise us if you are nursing. Since anesthesia effects your breast milk, you may be asked to pump for the first 24 hours after surgery.

Your surgery and the types of anesthesia and their benefits and risks are explained to you during this visit. Laboratory tests and prescriptions for medications, if needed, are ordered.

If you haven’t met with your anesthesiologist before coming to the hospital for surgery, you will have that opportunity immediately before your surgery.