You might be a bit nervous about having a surgery that requires anesthesia, and that’s completely normal. Our #1 concern is making sure that you are safe and comfortable in our care, so we want your experience with anesthesia to be as pleasant as possible. To ensure your safety and comfort, here is some general information on what to expect before being given anesthetic and what you can do to help your surgeon keep things running smoothly.
Different Types of Anesthesia
There are two types of anesthesia that you might encounter at San Antonio Periodontics and Implants: general anesthesia and local anesthesia. General anesthesia, used for more serious procedures, actually induces unconsciousness. On the other hand, milder procedures require local anesthesia, where the doctor numbs only a small part of the body where the surgery is to take place. Most of the topics covered below pertain to general anesthesia, unless otherwise specified.
Things You Can Do to Help Before Anesthesia
- Eating and drinking – In most cases, you should not eat, drink or smoke 24 hours before the surgery. This is because general anesthesia causes the muscles in your airways and digestive tract to relax. Because these muscles are relaxed, it could allow food and acid from the stomach to pass through the airways and into the lungs. As a general rule, your stomach should be empty by the time of surgery, but if your procedure is later in the afternoon, your surgeon might approve a small breakfast. Be sure to be in communication with your medical team about questions you have. Don’t just assume.
- Have a caretaker – It is very important that you have somebody to take care of you for at least 24 hours after being put under general anesthesia. Be sure to arrange for somebody to pick you up after your surgery has been completed. You will not, under any circumstances, be allowed to drive yourself home. You’re sure to be a bit disoriented as the anesthetic wears off, so be sure you aren’t left to take care of yourself alone! (If you are only being given local anesthetic, you will be allowed to drive yourself home)
- Clothing and accessories – Be sure to wear warm, loose-fitting clothing that you feel comfortable in and casual footwear (no sandals or high heels). We also ask that you remove all makeup, fingernail polish and toenail polish before the day of your surgery. Nobody is going to blame you for not having a perfect smoky eye when you’re about to go into surgery, we promise. Lastly, be sure to remove all piercings and jewelry before your surgery. Think of it as a lazy day and dress accordingly!
- Glasses and contacts – In the spirit of a lazy surgery day, forget about your contact lenses the day of your surgery. If you don’t have a pair of glasses to replace your contacts, be sure to bring a case and contact solution to put your contacts in prior to your procedure.
- Communication with your surgeon – This one is vitally important. You must communicate with your surgeon about any health concerns you have. Tell your surgeon or doctor about any medication you regularly take prior to the surgery so that they can decide whether it is safe to continue using before your surgery. You should also keep your doctor or surgeon updated on any health issues, such as a cold or fever, that you experience before or after your surgery.
- Insurance and ID – Make sure you don’t forget to bring a copy of your insurance card and a current photo ID the day of your surgery.
What to Expect from Us
For procedures that require general anesthesia, expect a call from our anesthesiologist prior to your surgery. Our anesthesiologist will review your medical and anesthetic history while giving you a chance to ask any questions you have about your procedure. Your anesthesiologist will most likely ask you questions about allergies, health conditions, breathing problems, drug/alcohol/tobacco use, etc. Be sure to bring up anything that you are concerned about, even if you feel like it’s minor. In most cases, painkillers are prescribed after a procedure and you will be given a prescription from your surgeon to pick up from the pharmacy of your choice.
If you follow these instructions, you should be set for a comfortable and safe experience with anesthesia. The most important thing for you to remember is to be in contact with your doctor or surgeon throughout this process. The information above is merely a guideline to follow, but your surgeon is the ultimate authority. Contact us online or call us at 210.824.0111 with any additional questions you may have!