How to prepare for anesthesia

Preparing for Anesthesia

Being well-prepared for anesthesia may help you remain calm and relaxed. If you take the time to learn about your procedure and the anesthesia, you will be better able to understand the information and instructions you are given. Knowing what to expect can help decrease tension and anxiety.
Usually, your surgeon’s office, clinic, or hospital will contact you in advance to give you information about what to do the evening before and the day of the procedure. Your surgeon will also provide information about what will happen when you arrive at the clinic or hospital, during the procedure, and afterward.

Food and drink restrictions

As part of getting ready for your procedure, you are not allowed to eat or drink anything for a certain time period before anesthesia. The following times are averages. In some cases, such as in those people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the restrictions must be started earlier for safety.

  • Do not eat for 6 hours before anesthesia.
  • You may drink clear liquids only (water, filtered apple juice, black coffee or tea, and clear carbonated beverages such as Seven-Up) up to 2 hours before your surgery. You should having nothing else to eat or drink for at least 6 hours before anesthesia.

Food and fluids are restricted to reduce the risk of aspiration by reducing the contents of your stomach. Aspiration occurs when an object or liquid is inhaled into the respiratory tract when a person regurgitates contents into the throat. Aspiration during anesthesia is very uncommon, but it can cause severe complications.

Medicine restrictions

If you take any medicines on a regular basis, such as diabetes medicines or heart medicines, ask your surgeon whether you should take your medicines on the day before or the day of your procedure. Some medicines may interact with the anesthetics and other medicines used for anesthesia.

Informed consent

Before any non emergency surgery or procedure, most surgery centers and hospitals have a surgery consent for you to sign. This is called an informed consent, because your surgeon will explain why your surgery is needed, what it will involve, its risks and expected outcome, and how long it will take you to recover. After discussing this information, you may be asked to sign the informed consent. It needs to be signed before you receive any medicines that could affect your state of mind.
Your anesthesia specialist will discuss the anesthesia care for your surgery so that you will understand what is involved. You can then give your informed consent. You will be able to ask questions and express any concerns.

If the person to have anesthesia is a child or is mentally incompetent to sign a consent form, the consent may be signed by a responsible family member or guardian.


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