Commonly Asked Questions

When do I have to stop eating before elective surgery? How about drinking? Why?
The timing of when you should stop eating or drinking before your surgery is extremely important. This is because when you are under anesthesia, your body’s normal protective reflexes to prevent stomach contents from going into your airway and to your lungs is relaxed. Because your stomach produces acid, this could result in a condition called aspiration pneumonitis, which can to lead to more serious injury or even death. Anesthesiologists at CAG follow guidelines made by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), which is outlined below.

Adults

Drinking- 2 hours for clear liquids. Water, apple juice, carbonated beverages, clear tea, and black coffee are common examples. Alcohol is not allowed. Consuming non-clear liquids such as milk will require 6 hours of fasting. Eating- 6 hours for a light non-fatty meal (toast or crackers) or 8 hours for fried/fatty or meat containing foods.

Children

Breast milk- stop 4 hours before procedure Infant formula- stop 6 hours before procedure To ensure patient safety, surgeons may ask patients to stop eating or drinking anything before midnight (except sips of water to take important medications). If you have any questions about these guidelines, please call CAG to speak to someone who may assist you in understanding these guidelines.

Is it okay to chew gum before surgery?
It is recommended that you do not chew gum within 2 hours of your surgery because chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva and gastric secretions.
What is the difference between “General Anesthesia”, “Monitored Anesthesia Care”, and “Regional Anesthesia”?

General Anesthesia

You are unconscious and have no awareness or other sensations. There are a number of general anesthetics such as gases or vapors, which are inhaled through a breathing mask or tube. Others are medications introduced through a vein. During anesthesia, you are carefully monitored, controlled and treated by your anesthesia provider. A breathing tube may be inserted carefully into the windpipe to maintain proper breathing during this period. The length and level of anesthesia is calculated and constantly adjusted with great precision. At the conclusion of surgery, your anesthesiologist will reverse the process and you will regain awareness in the recovery room.

Monitored Anesthesia Care

Care You are given sedatives for a procedure in which sometimes local anesthesia or numbing medicine is injected by your surgeon to help with pain. Depending on the situation such as type of surgery or a patient’s health status, some patients require minimal sedation and thus can be “aware” of what’s going on although the sedative relieves the anxiety. However, some patients require more sedation or even a change to general anesthesia in certain situations or procedures as needed. Because of this, your anesthesia provider will monitor you closely throughout the procedure and will be ready to intervene as necessary.

Regional Anesthesia

Your anesthesia provider performs a nerve block, which is an injection near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. You might be awake, or you may be given a sedative to help you relax. There are several kinds of regional anesthesia. Two of the most frequently used are spinal and epidural anesthesia, which are produced by injections made with great exactness in the appropriate areas of the back. Sometimes a nerve block can be made to numb specific parts of your body that may require surgery, such as your arm or leg.

Who will be taking care of me while I'm under anesthesia?
You will have an anesthesiologist only or both an anesthesiologist and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) taking care of you while under anesthesia.

Anesthesiologists

CAG anesthesiologists are highly skilled physicians (M.D. or D.O.) who specialize in the field of anesthesiology. Anesthesiologists complete at least 4 years of medical school and 4 years of training at an accredited residency with some doctors getting further specialty training in fellowship programs. Anesthesiologists either work in a one-on-one basis with the patient or they serve as the leader in an Anesthesia Care Team (ACT) with CRNAs. When working in an ACT the anesthesiologist directing the ACT is responsible for management of team personnel, patient pre-anesthetic evaluation, prescribing the anesthetic plan, management of the anesthetic, post-anesthesia care and anesthesia consultations. Whether your anesthesiologist is working one-on-one with you or in a care team, rest assured that a highly-trained anesthesiologist will be intimately involved in your care.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)

CAG CRNAs are specialty-trained RNs with advanced degrees who work in an Anesthesia Care Team (ACT) directed by the anesthesiologist. In an ACT model, an anesthesiologist delegates tasks like patient monitoring, administration of anesthesia, and other appropriate patient-care related duties to the CRNA while retaining overall responsibility for the patient. The CRNAs at CAG are an excellent group of care providers that bring medical knowledge, clinical skill, and compassion to their job as anesthesia providers. Their training and expertise allow them to care for patients in a wide variety of surgical cases. As with the anesthesiologists, CAG upholds the highest standards in recruiting and hiring CRNAs.