surgical services

What to Expect in Surgery

Before your Procedure


Prior to your surgery, you will receive a pre-anesthesia evaluation by a preadmission testing nurse. During this process, we will take your pertinent medical information and obtain medical tests necessary for surgery. The Department of Anesthesia has worked to eliminate unnecessary testing. In some cases, you may be interviewed by a physician anesthesiologist prior to your surgery. This is an excellent time to ask questions about anesthesia and what to expect. Also, make sure you understand what you need to do before surgery in regards to eating, drinking and medication use.

The Day of Surgery

After your arrival to the hospital, a preoperative nurse will direct you to the pre-op area to change clothes. Following this, the pre-op nurse will take some admission information, start an intravenous line, and wash the surgical site. When this is complete, you will meet your anesthesia team. Continue to ask any additional questions you have with anesthesia and your surgery. We want to be able to make you as comfortable as possible.

Your Anesthesia Team

Your anesthesia team will consist of a physician anesthesiologist (MDA) and a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). The anesthesia team will review the preadmission information and conduct a brief interview with you. Keep in mind that there is some redundancy in the process. This is intentional so that we get the most accurate information possible. Following the evaluation, the anesthesia team will discuss the risks, benefits and alternatives of your anesthetic.

Types of Anesthesia

Anesthesia is the effect of drugs that block nerve impulses and leave the body or part of the body insensitive to pain. The exact effects depend on the type of anesthesia used, this ranges from short term numbness from a local injection to complete loss of sensation, unconsciousness and temporary paralysis with General Anesthesia.

  • Local – A local is usually injected into a small area of the body which numbs it. You will stay awake and alert
  • Intravenous (IV) Conscious Sedation – a pain reliever and mild sedative if used to relax you and relieve and prevent pain. You will stay awake but may not remember the procedure afterwards.
  • Regional – an anesthesia that blocks nerve feeling and pain in one area of the body. This is larger block than a local injection, such as an arm or a leg. Epidural anesthesia of the spine, such as is sometimes used in childbirth, is a form of regional anesthesia that blocks feeling in the lower part of the body.
  • General – affects your whole body. You are put to a deep sleep and feel nothing while under the general. You have no memory of the procedure afterwards.