FAQs

Where can I get help with billing questions?

You can contact Anesthesia Business Consultants for help with any billing related questions or problems. Contact them at  www.anesthesiallc.com/contact and choose “billing & reimbursement” from the drop-down at the top of the form, then complete and submit the contact form or you may call them directly at 800-242-1131.

How long does my child have to fast before surgery?

Food and milk empty from the stomach much slower than clear liquids. To make sure the stomach is as empty as possible by the time anesthesia is started, patients must be fasting longer from food or milk than from clear liquids. You should always check with your doctor to see what they recommend. Frequently used recommended fasting times for different types of food and liquids are as follows:

Type of food or liquid

Fasting time before surgery

Fatty or fried food 8 hours
Light meal, milk 6 hours
Breast milk (infants) 4 hours
Clear liquids 2 hours

My child's surgery was cancelled because of a cold. How long should I wait to reschedule?

Research has shown that children with colds may have sensitive air passages for several weeks after the symptoms have gone. Because a child with sensitive air passages is more likely to have complications during surgery, it is usually good practice to wait several weeks until the airways have had a chance to fully recover. The length of time that you should wait before rescheduling surgery varies but should be decided in consultation with your anesthesiologist and surgeon. Since your child’s surgery was canceled, it is probably because his or her symptoms were severe enough to be worrisome. In these cases the recommended wait time is 4 or more weeks. This should allow the air passages sufficient time to recover. If your child was diagnosed with a bacterial infection of the lungs or airways, he/she should receive antibiotics and surgery postponed for at least 4 weeks.

My child has a cold. Should his/her surgery be cancelled?

In the past, children with colds had their anesthesia and surgery cancelled until they felt better. This practice was based on concerns that the anesthetic made the cold worse and increased the risk of complications during surgery. Nowadays, we know much more about the effects of anesthesia on colds such that cancellation of surgery for children with colds is much less common.

An important role of the anesthesiologist is to ensure that your child breathes freely when asleep for surgery. This is more of a challenge when a child has a cold because they may have a lot of secretions and their air passages may be more sensitive. Sometimes this can result in coughing and spasm of the airways. Although these events, if they occur, are typically mild and easily treated, they can be troublesome.

The decision to cancel surgery for the child with a cold is based on a number of factors. Typically, children whose cold is limited to the nose and upper parts of the throat, whose secretions are clear, who do not have a fever, and who do not feel sleepy or lethargic can be safely anesthetized. Children who look sick, who have a fever (over 100°F) and have yellow or green secretions probably should have their surgery cancelled. Other factors may also be important including the urgency of the surgery. These decisions should be made in consultation with your anesthesiologist and surgeon who can determine whether cancellation of surgery is necessary.

Should my throat be sore after surgery?

A sore throat after general anesthesia is not uncommon, occurring about 20-30% of the time. In most cases it is mild, and gets better without treatment over a couple of days. It is unusual for the soreness to last longer than a few weeks. If this does occur, please contact your physician.

Is pain relief in my spine safe?

You can rest assured that spinal anesthesia is a safe choice for many surgeries. When offered this type of anesthesia, many patients are concerned about serious side effects, such as paralysis, and also about troubling but less dangerous side effects, such as headaches. There is a common, although false, perception that these complications occur often. In fact, spinal anesthesia has a long track record of safety, with a very low rate of serious complications.

Are long surgeries more dangerous?

There is no evidence that the duration of general anesthesia by itself increases the risks of anesthesia complications. Studies of anesthesia-related risks have shown correlation with other factors, such as:

1.Your general medical condition, especially problems like diabetes, heart or lung disease, malnutrition or obesity.

2.Your functional status, that is, your ability to tolerate at least moderate levels of physical activity.

Obviously, anesthetic outcomes are also related to the skill and experience of the anesthesiologist who is taking care of you. The anesthetic needs to be tailored to your medical condition, the surgery itself, and whenever possible, to your individual preferences.

How is an epidural block performed for labor and delivery?

An epidural block is given in the lower back while you are either sitting up or lying on your side. The block is administered below the level of the spinal cord. First, the anesthesiologist will use a local anesthetic to numb an area of your lower back. Then a special needle is placed in the epidural space just outside the spinal sac.

Could herbal medicines or other dietary supplements affect my anesthesia?

Anesthesiologists are currently researching exactly how certain herbs and dietary supplements interact with particular anesthetics. They are finding that certain herbal medicines may prolong the effects of anesthesia. Others may increase the risk of bleeding or raise blood pressure. Some effects may be subtle and less critical, but for anesthesiologists, it is better to anticipate a possible reaction than to react to an unexpected situation. That is why it is very important to tell your doctor about everything you normally take before you have surgery.

Should I take my usual medicines?

Some medications can and should be taken and others should not. It is important to discuss this issue with your surgeon or anesthesiologist thoroughly to prevent any adverse effects. Do not interrupt any medication unless your anesthesiologist or surgeon specifically recommends it.

Can I eat or drink prior to my anesthesia procedure?

As a general rule, you should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before a surgery. In certain cases, the anesthesiologist may give a patient permission to drink clear liquids up to a few hours before the anesthesia procedure.

What are the risks of anesthesia?

All operations and all anesthesia procedures have some risk associated with them. These risks depend upon many factors, including the type of surgery and the medical condition of the patient. Fortunately, adverse events are very rare. Rest assured that your anesthesiologist will take precautions to prevent an accident from occurring, just as you do when driving a car or crossing the street.

Since the specific risks may vary, depending on what you are having done and your condition, we suggest you ask your anesthesiologist about the risks that may be associated with your upcoming anesthesia procedure.

Are there different types of anesthesia?

Yes. There are three main types of anesthesia: local anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and general anesthesia. Each has many forms and uses.

Local Anesthesia
In local anesthesia, the anesthetic drug is usually injected into the tissue to numb the specific location of your body having minor surgery, (for example, the hand or foot).

Regional Anesthesia
In regional anesthesia, your anesthesiologist injects a local anesthetic near a cluster of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. You may remain awake or you may be given a sedative. Either way, you will not see or feel the actual surgery take place. There are several kinds of regional anesthesia. Two of the most frequently used are spinal anesthesia and epidural anesthesia, which are produced by injections made with great exactness into the appropriate areas of the back. Both are typically used during childbirth and prostate surgery.

General Anesthesia
With general anesthesia, you are unconscious and have no awareness or sensation. General anesthetic drugs include gases and vapors inhaled through a breathing mask or tube and medications introduced through a vein. During anesthesia, your anesthesiologist will carefully monitor and control your major bodily functions via sophisticated equipment. A breathing tube may be inserted through your mouth and frequently 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 consciousness in the recovery room.

Is anesthesia safe?

Complications from anesthesia have declined dramatically over the last 50 years. Since the 1970s, the number of anesthesiologists has more than doubled and at the same time patient outcomes have improved. While perioperative deaths attributed to anesthesia were approximately 1 in 1,500 some fifty years ago, today that number has improved nearly ten fold; that’s a dramatic increase in patient safety despite older and sicker patients being treated in operating rooms nationwide. At present, the chances of a healthy patient suffering an intraoperative death attributable to anesthesia is less than 1 in 200,000 when an anesthesiologist is involved in patient care.

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