Patient FAQ

Many of our patients are experiencing anesthesia for the first time in their lives, and have questions about the process.

We’ve developed answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, please let us know.

Pediatric Questions

Is Pediatric Anesthesiology Different From General Anesthesiology?
Why Shouldn’t My Child Eat or Drink Anything Before Surgery?
What Can My Child Eat or Drink Before Surgery?
Will My Child Be Sedated?
Will My Child’s Anesthesiologist Be In The Operating Room During The Surgery?
Can I Be In The Operating Room During My Child’s Surgery?
What Can I Do To Lessen My Child’s Fears About Surgery?
Can I Be With My Child When They Wake Up?

Pain Management Questions

Is Pain Management Treatment Temporary?
Can I Keep Normal Medications During Pain Management Treatments?
Can I Go Back To Work The Same Day As Receiving Pain Management Treatment?
At What Point Do I Need To See An Anesthesiologist For My Pain Management?

General Questions

What Can I Eat or Drink Before Surgery?
Will My Insurance Cover My Anesthesia?
What Tests Do I Need To Have Before Surgery?
When Do I Need To Have Pre Operative Testing?
What Medications Should I Stop Before Surgery?
What If I Use a CPAP Machine At Home?
What If I Have a Pacemaker or Internal Defibrillator?
Will I Wake Up In The Middle of Surgery?
Does The Anesthesiologist Stay In The Operating Room During The Surgery?

Is Pediatric Anesthesiology Different From General Anesthesiology?

Yes. Children require specialized anesthesiology, and all 42 Allied Anesthesiologists have extensive experience treating children.

As the exclusive anesthesia provider for CHOC Children’s, Allied Anesthesiologists performed 11,686 pediatric procedures in 2009 alone. Our anesthesiologists have over 400 years of combined pediatric anesthesiology experience.

When your child is under the care of an Allied anesthesiologist, you can be sure that they’re in the care of one of the country’s most experienced pediatric anesthesiologists.

Why Shouldn’t My Child Eat or Drink Anything Before surgery?

What Can My Child Eat or Drink Before Surgery?

Less than 6 months of age,
No clear liquids up to three (3) hours before surgery.
No breast milk up to four (4) hours before surgery.
No formula milk up to six (6) hours before surgery.
No solid food up to eight (8) hours before surgery.

6 months of age or older,
No clear liquids up to three (3) hours before surgery.
No breast milk up to six (6) hours before surgery.
No formula milk up to eight (8) hours before surgery.
No solid food up to eight (8) hours before surgery.
Solid Food = foods, non-human milk, juice, nectar, vegetable juice, Jell-O, gum, and candy mints.
Clear Liquids = clear apple juice, sugar water, water, 7-up, balanced salt solution (Gatorade type solution).

Will My Child be Sedated?

Will my child’s anesthesiologist be in the operating room during the surgery?

Yes. Allied Anesthesia is an all-physician team. That means we do not hand over your child’s care to an unsupervised nurse anesthetist at any time during surgery. We remain in the operating room, monitoring your child, for the duration of his or her surgery.

Can I be in the Operating Room During My Child’s Surgery?

Because of the critical importance of maintaining a distraction free environment for the operating team, and maintaining proper operating room procedures to ensure a clean and sterile environment, parents are not allowed in operating rooms during surgeries.

What Can I Do To Lessen My Child’s Fears About Surgery?

Can I be With My Child When They Wake Up?

Is Pain Management Treatment Temporary?

While pain management services performed by an anesthesiologist are designed to give immediate pain relief, they can also have longer lasting benefits by reducing inflammation in the affected areas and thereby reducing the pressure exerted by the body on nerves sending pain signals.

Can I Keep Normal Medications During Pain Management Treatments?

You should always consult your anesthesiologist regarding specific medication before your treatment. Many medications are compatible with pain management treatments, but there are important exceptions – for example, blood thinners – which must be stopped before pain management treatments occur.

Can I Go Back to Work the Same Day as Receiving Pain Management Treatment?

The amount of recovery time needed will vary by procedure and individual patient physiology. We generally recommend taking 1-2 days off from work around pain management procedures, but some patients do return to work the same day they receive treatment.

At What Point Do I Need to See an Anesthesiologist for My Pain Management?

Often, other physicians will refer patients to an anesthesiologist for pain management services when they feel that the patient’s pain requires the additional expertise of an anesthesiologist with advanced training in pain management. As a general rule, a patient must have experienced pain for three weeks prior to an initial pain management treatment, and had a diagnostic MRI performed.

What Can I Eat or Drink Before Surgery?

For Adults:
No solid food and/or non-clear, full liquids up to eight (8) hours before surgery.
Only clear liquids up to four (4) hours before surgery.
Nothing by mouth for the four (4) hour period immediately before surgery.
Solid Food and/or Non-Clear, Full liquid = foods, milk, juice, nectar, vegetable juice, Jell-O, gum, and candy mints.
Clear Liquids = clear apple juice, sugar water, water, 7-up, balanced salt solution (Gatorade type solution), Jell-O

Will My Insurance Cover My Anesthesia?

Surgical anesthesia services are generally billed directly by the hospital or medical center as part of the overall surgical costs. In general, if your insurance covers the surgery being performed, they will cover the associated anesthesia charges, but you should always get approval from your insurance provider for any procedure being performed.

Likewise, you should contact your insurance provider for approval of any standalone pain management services.

What Tests Do I Need to Have Before Surgery?

Pre-surgical testing will be ordered at the discretion of your physician. The following tests are examples of some tests commonly ordered for certain types of surgeries.

electrocardiogram (ECG)

Important clinical characteristics to consider may include cardiocirculatory disease, respiratory disease, and type or invasiveness of surgery. Electrocardiogram abnormalities may be higher in older patients and in patients with multiple cardiac risk factors.  Age alone may not be an indication for an electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram may be indicated for patients with known cardiovascular risk factors or for patients with risk factors identified in the course of a preanesthesia evaluation.

cardiac evaluation (other than electrocardiogram)

Clinical characteristics to consider include cardiovascular risk factors and type of surgery.

chest radiographs (x-rays)

Chest radiographic abnormalities may be higher in patients with extremes of age, smoking, stable COPD, stable cardiac disease, or resolved recent upper respiratory infection, but there is no unequivocal indication for chest radiography for patients.

Pulmonary Evaluation (other than Chest X-ray)

Clinical characteristics that should be considered include the type and invasiveness of the surgical procedure, interval from prior evaluation, treated or symptomatic asthma, symptomatic COPD, and scoliosis with restrictive function.

hemoglobin or hematocrit

Routine hemoglobin or hematocrit is not indicated. Clinical characteristics to consider as indications for such tests include the type and invasiveness of the procedure, patients with liver disease, extremes of age, history of anemia, bleeding, and other hematologic disorders.

coagulation studies (e.g., inr, pt, ptt, platelets)

Clinical characteristics to consider for ordering selected coagulation studies include bleeding disorders, renal dysfunction, liver dysfunction, and type and invasiveness of procedure. Anticoagulant medications and alternative therapies may present an additional perioperative risk. There is not enough data to comment on the advisability of coagulation tests before regional anesthesia.

serum chemistries (i.e., potassium, glucose, sodium, renal and liver function studies)

Clinical characteristics to consider before ordering such tests include likely perioperative therapies, endocrine disorders, risk of renal and liver dysfunction, and use of certain medications or alternative therapies.

urinalysis

Urinalysis is not indicated except for specific procedures (e.g., prosthesis implantation, urologic procedures) or when urinary tract symptoms are present.

pregnancy testing

A history and physical examination may be insufficient for identification of early pregnancy. Pregnancy testing may be considered for all female patients of childbearing age. Clinical characteristics to consider include an uncertain pregnancy history or a history suggestive of current pregnancy.

When Do I Need to Have Pre-Operative Testing

In 2002, a report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Preanesthesia Evaluation gave the following guidelines:

Test results obtained from the medical record within 6 months of surgery are generally acceptable if the patient’s medical history has not changed substantially. More recent test results may be desirable when the medical history has changed, or when test results may play a role in the selection of a specific anesthetic technique (e.g., regional anesthesia in the setting of anticoagulation therapy).

What Medications Should I Stop Before Surgery?

Some medications can be taken before surgery. Please consult with your physician and bring a list of your current medications to your pre-operative surgical appointment.

What If I Use a CPAP Machine at Home?

Please consult with your physician.

What If I Have a Pacemaker or Internal Defibrillator?

Inform the nurse that you have a pacemaker or internal defibrillator during your phone interview and in the pre-operative holding area on the day of surgery.

Will I Wake Up in the Middle of Surgery?

Many patients ask about the possibility of waking up in the middle of an operation.  Although this is a very rare occurence, there have been instances when it has occurred.  In anesthesiology, we refer to this as “awareness.” When awareness does occur, it is usually just prior to the anesthetic taking effect or as the patient is emerging from anesthesia.  In very rare instances, it may occur during the surgery itself.  Should the patient have any concerns regarding awareness, address them with the anesthesiologist during the pre-operative visit.

Does the anesthesiologist stay in the operating room during the surgery?

Yes. Allied Anesthesia is an all-physician team. That means we do not transfer patient care to an unsupervised nurse anesthetist at any time during surgery. We remain in the operating room, monitoring the patient, for the entire of surgery.