Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Anesthesiologist?
Anesthesiologists are specialized Medical Doctors (MD or DO) who in addition to completing four years of college, completes an additional four years of Medical School and then spends three or more years of Residency training in anesthesia before becoming certified by the American Board of Anesthesiologist. These doctors at minimum are educated in cardiology, critical care medicine, internal medicine, pharmacology and surgery to be able to fulfill their role. In addition to the eight years of education after college some complete an additional one to two years in a fellowship program training in specific areas such as pain management, cardiac anesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, neuro-anesthesia, obstetric anesthesia or critical care medicine. They may also seek certification in one of following subspecialties, which require additional training and examinations: critical care medicine, hospice and palliative medicine and pain medicine.
What is a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)?
A certified registered nurse anesthetist is a registered nurse who has satisfactorily completed an accredited nurse anesthesia training program and has become licensed in the expanded role of anesthesia. While working as a team under the medical direction of an anesthesiologist, a CRNA provides the safe administration of anesthesia while maintaining the patient’s vital signs in a variety of surgical cases.
Will I meet the anesthesiologist before surgery?
Because anesthesia and surgery affect every system in the body, a member of the anesthesia care team will conduct a preoperative interview. Sometimes this is done in person; in other cases, the anesthesiologist will interview you over the telephone. During this interview, the anesthesiologist will review your medical history, as well as discuss the information mentioned above. He or she will also inform you about what to expect during your surgery and discuss anesthetic choices with you. If you have not personally met during the preoperative interview, the anesthesiologist will meet with you immediately before your surgery to review your entire medical history as well as results of any medical test previously conducted. By this time, he or she will have a clear understanding of your anesthetic needs.
Can I eat before surgery?
Do not eat or drink after midnight unless otherwise directed; this includes gum and hard candy. If your procedure is scheduled after 12 noon and you do not have a history of GERD "gastrointestinal reflux disease", diabetes or obesity, you may have a small amount of clear liquids four hours prior to the scheduled procedure. (water, black coffee (NO MILK OR CREAM), black tea, ginger ale, Gatorade, apple juice, white grape juice, white cranberry juice are considered clear liquids)
Can I drive after receiving anesthesia?
No. For your safety, you will not be allowed to drive after receiving anesthesia of any kind. In addition, you will not be allowed to take a bus or taxi home and must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Can I stay alone after anesthesia?
Upon discharge you must be accompanied by an adult and it is highly recommended that an adult stay with you during the first 24 hours following anesthesia as the effects continue for that period of time.
If I don't feel good in 24 hours pre or post surgery who should I call?
Contact your surgeon and/or primary care physician first. If necessary, contact Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth’s Pre-admission testing department at 508-746-2000. In case of a medical emergency call 911 or seek help at the nearest emergency room.
Can I wear jewelry?
No! You are not allowed to wear jewelry of any kind.
How are pre-existing medical conditions handled during surgery?
If you have a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes, asthma, heart problems, arthritis, etc., your anesthesiologist will have been alerted to this and will be well prepared to treat these conditions during your surgery, as well as immediately afterward. Anesthesiologists are trained to handle sudden medical problems related to the surgery, as well as any chronic conditions that may need attention during the procedure.
How is the patient's condition monitored during surgery?
The patient’s vital signs, including heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, carbon dioxide and oxygen levels are continuously monitored during surgery. Continuous observation of even the slightest changes in a wide range of body functions gives your anesthesia provider a tremendous amount of information about the patient's well-being. In addition to directing your anesthesia, the anesthesiologist will manage vital functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, heart rhythm, body temperature, and breathing. He or she will also be responsible for fluid and blood replacement, when necessary.