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Frequently Asked Questions

Why I have to keep my stomach empty for at least 8 hours before my surgery?

Because anesthesia is different from normal sleep. You will lose control of your stomach under general anesthesia and any stomach contents could regurge back to your throat and get aspirated into your lungs, causing very serious complications, sometimes fatal.
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What to tell my anesthesiologist

Make sure to tell your anesthesiologist that if
- you have history of allergic reaction or any bad experience of anesthesia;
- any family members ever had bad reactions to anesthesia;
- you have ever been told that anesthesiologist “had hard time to put breathing tube” down to your throat;
- you are taking herbal medicine or supplement;
- you have chronic pain
- any medical conditions that you think anesthesiologist should know
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What to ask my anesthesiologist

Any thing. Especially anesthesia plan. You anesthesiologist will help you to decide what would be best for you in terms of anesthesia plan.
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Can I have something to calm me down before the surgery

Yes. We offer tranquilizer (“relaxing medicine”) to all of our patients before we send them to the operating room. Sometimes, we also give patients pain medicine should they need it.
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Why my anesthesiologist offered me different types of anesthesia, why not “just put me to sleep”

Put people “completely under”, or general anesthesia, may not be the best choice for every one. General anesthesia is not without risks, especially for those who have heart disease, lung disease (asthma, smoking, obstructive sleep apnea, for example). General anesthesia may have significant impact on your heart, lungs and other organs. Also, you may experience nausea and vomiting after general anesthesia, in addition to the surgical pain when you are waking up. Each type of anesthesia has its benefits and risks. Your anesthesiologist will go through with you all options and help you to choose the one that is best for you.
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What is regional anesthesia and nerve block

Epidural and spinal anesthesia are regional anesthesia. In both cases, anesthetics are injected on your back to numb part of your body where the surgery takes place, thus, “regional”.
A nerve block is usually used for surgeries of extremeties (shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle, etc) in which anesthetics are deposited around nerve bundles near the surgery site.
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What is benefit to have regional or nerve block

Pain control. Regional anesthesia and nerve block provide superior pain control after surgery over general anesthesia. Also, you are much less likely to have sore throat, nausea. Your recovery time will likely be shorter and you can go home sooner with little or no pain. They are safer for those who have significant heart disease or lung disease. They are also good options for pregnant women.
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Does my surgeon wanted me to have the block

Yes. In most cases, your surgeon requested anesthesiologist to place the block. We always communicate with your surgeon regarding your anesthesia care.
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Will I be awake during the surgery if I have regional or nerve block

No. You will still be asleep during the surgery.
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Will I be awake when you do nerve block

Yes. We need your feedback during the procedure. However, you will be adequately sedated. Most of our patients do not recall the procedure when it is done.
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Does it hurt when you do nerve block

We use a tiny needle to put numbing medicine on your skin first and that is when you feel a little “bee sting”. After that you may feel “pressure” when we put “block needle” through the numbed area. You may notice muscle twitches when we get closer to the nerve, but it is not painful, just “funny feelings”.
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How long does the nerve block last

It varies. In most cases, it lasts anywhere between 12 to 24 hours.
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Can I take pain medicine with a block

Yes. Before the nerve block wears off you should begin taking the medicines prescribed by your surgeon.
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How long does the surgery take

It depends. Your surgeons may give you an estimated time. But actual time could vary significantly depends on complexity of surgery. We will update your family members along the operation.
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I don’t want to be awake during the surgery

You won’t. Waking up during the surgery under general anesthesia is extremely rare. We do have technology to monitor how deep our patient sleep. If you are very concerned about this issue, talk to your anesthesiologist.
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I was very nauseous last time, anything you can do about it

Nausea and vomiting is a very common side effect of surgery. Many factors are involved. Female, history of motion sickness, empty stomach, dehydration, nervousness, general anesthesia, pain and pain medicine are all contributing factors. We will discuss with you in detail and make a good anesthesia plan for you. We will do everything we can to minimize your potential nauseous feeling.
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What to expect in recovery room

You may be very sleepy. You may have pain or sore throat. You may feel nauseous, dry mouth. If you had a long surgery or urological procedure, you may feel you need to go to bathroom. Let your recovery nurse know, we will be there to help you.
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How long will it take to wake me up and how long do I have to stay in recovery room

It depends. Most people wake up within 30 minutes. As long as you meet recovery room discharge criteria you will be sent out from recovery room. Those criteria include how awake you are, whether your vital signs are stable, your pain and nausea are under control, etc. Occasionally, you have to stay in recovery room longer because of hospital’s bed availability.