What to Expect

Meeting the Anesthesiologist

An anesthesiologist is a physician with specialized training and knowledge in pain management and sedation who administers medications to patients to provide comfort and stability for surgical procedures.

When your surgeon schedules your surgery at Inova Loudoun Hospital, a nurse from the Surgical Services Preoperative Department will contact you with complete instructions for what you need to know.

Your anesthesiologist, an associate, or a pre-op nurse will interview you before your surgical procedure to evaluate your general health. This interview will usually be a telephone call, but may involve a visit to the facility. Your anesthesiologist may also ask you to take some preoperative lab tests including an EKG and blood work or require you to visit your specialist (e.g. cardiologist) before surgery. You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your previous anesthetic experience and any medical conditions and allergies you may have, and medications you may be taking.

On the day of surgery you will meet your anesthesia team and they will review your medical information and talk about your anesthesia. You may also meet a nurse anesthetist who may participate closely in your care. You will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and participate in decisions concerning the best type of anesthesia for your case.

Types of Anesthesia Care

Local Anesthesia medicine is given (usually through an injection) to relieve pain in the area where surgery is to be done while permitting the patient to remain conscious but pain free.

Regional anesthesia – medicine is given to relieve pain in the area where surgery is to be done while permitting the patient to remain conscious but pain free. The procedure involves the injection of local anesthetic to provide numbness, loss of pain or loss of sensation to a particular region of the body. Regional anesthetic techniques include spinal blocks, epidural blocks and arm and leg blocks. Medication can be given to make you drowsy and blur your memory.

General anesthesia – medicine is given to the patient and they become unconscious (asleep) and remain pain free during the procedure.

In adults and older children, anesthesia is usually started with an intravenous injection. Younger children are usually allowed to breathe the anesthetic through a mask until they fall asleep. This is called an inhalational or mask induction.

Monitored anesthesia care (MAC) consists of local anesthetic injections as well as the use of medications to make you drowsy. As with other types of anesthesia, you are sedated.