Anesthesia - what to ask your doctor - adult
What to ask your doctor about anesthesia - adult
You are scheduled to have a surgery or procedure. You will need to talk with your doctor about the type of anesthesia that will be best for you. Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor.
Which type of anesthesia is best for me based on the procedure that I am having?
When do I need to stop eating or drinking before having the anesthesia?
Is it alright to come alone to the hospital, or should someone come with me? Can I drive myself home?
If I am taking the following medicines, what should I do?
- Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), other arthritis drugs, vitamin E, clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and any other blood thinners
- Sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), or tadalafil (Cialis)
- Vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other supplements
- Medicines for heart problems, lung problems, diabetes, or allergies
- Other medicines I am supposed to take everyday
If I have asthma, COPD, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or any other medical problems, do I need to do anything special before I have anesthesia?
If I am nervous, can I get medicine to relax my nerves before going into the operating room?
After I receive the anesthesia:
- Will I be awake or aware of what is happening?
- Will I feel any pain?
- Will someone be watching and making sure I am ok?
After the anesthesia wears off:
- How soon will I wake up? How soon before I can get up and move around?
- How long will I need to stay?
- Will I have any pain?
- Will I be sick to my stomach?
If I have spinal or epidural anesthesia, will I have a headache afterward?
What if I have more questions after the surgery? Who can I talk to?
Apfelbaum JL, Silverstein JH, Chung FF, et al. Practice guidelines for postanesthetic care: an updated report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on postanesthetic care. Anesthesiology. 2013;118(2):291-307. PMID 23364567
Hernandez A, Sherwood ER. Anesthesiology principles, pain management, and conscious sedation. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 14.
Last reviewed on: 9/28/2020
Reviewed by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.