For most patients having general anesthesia, nothing uncomfortable will happen between the time that they enter the operating room and the time they begin to sleep. All patients will enter the operating room on a wheeled cart. The surgical nurses will introduce themselves and ask a few familiar questions. If your surgery is on one side of your body, the nurse will ask which side that is. Please don’t let this frighten you. She is being cautious in your interest. The nurses and orderly will help you move to the operating bed. It is often cold there at first. But warm blankets and warm smiles are plentiful.

or1 copy.JPG (15123 bytes) Entering patient's view of an operating room


Next someone will wrap a blood pressure cuff around your arm. It may seem very tight when it begins to take your blood pressure. It needs to get very tight to make a measurement. Three sticky round white pads will be placed on the skin of your upper chest. These pads allow a heart monitor to show a tracing of your heartbeat. Finally a clothespin like device will be placed on a thumb, finger or toe. This is a pulse oximeter. It constantly measures the oxygen content of your blood.angels copy.JPG (15293 bytes)

Anesthesia Angels - L to R:                        Agnes, Victoria, Lois

While these monitors are being attached, your anesthesiologist may give you some medicine. This medicine will go in through the tubing of the intravenous. Given this way the medicine will be painless and very rapid acting. You may be aware of feeling different and unaware of having had medicine. Most patients experience a comfortable mellow feeling. Some patients feel nothing. An occasional patient may feel lightheaded or dizzy for a short time. Sometimes you will see your surgeon in the operating room before surgery, sometimes not. Sometimes patients see their surgeon in the operating room before surgery, but don’t remember later.

 leads copy.JPG (18452 bytes)   EKG leads

                    oximeter copy.JPG (20548 bytes)

                                                                           Pulse Oximeter

     Some patients may need special monitors attached prior to beginning general anesthesia.

At this time, patients having general anesthesia will begin to sleep. Your anesthesiologist will tell you when you are about to begin to sleep. It is a pleasant and comfortable feeling beginning an anesthetic sleep.

Patients having epidural analgesia, an epidural catheter for pain control after surgery, will have it put in place before they start to sleep. Those having an epidural anesthetic will be helped into position for insertion of the epidural needle.

Patients having spinal anesthesia will have the injection of local anesthetic made while they are lying on their side or sitting up. After the injection is completed, sedation may be deepened.

Patients having local anesthesia and sedation may have their sedation deepened in preparation for the injection of local anesthesia.