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Anesthesia and Pain Management


Before surgery the anesthesiologist will review your health history, explain the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form. Be sure to tell the anesthesiologist if you have ever experienced any kind of problem with anesthesia.

There are four different types of anesthesia:

  • General anesthesia—Medications are administered to make sure you are unconscious during the surgery.
  • Regional anesthesia—Medications numb a specific part of your body during the procedure. A sedative may be given with this type of anesthesia.
  • Sedation—Medications are usually given through an IV to relax you. You may sleep during the procedure but be easily awoken. Local anesthesia is usually given in conjunction with sedation.
  • Local anesthesia—Medications are injected near the surgical site to numb the surrounding area. You will be awake and alert. Sedation may be given in conjunction with local anesthesia.

At the time of surgery, your anesthesiologist and surgeon will recommend the right anesthesia technique based on your individual needs and will answer any questions you may have.

Pain management

At NCH, we are committed to helping prevent or control any post-surgical pain. In addition to giving you pain medications through your IV or orally, there are several ways that your doctor can improve your post-operative comfort and mobility depending upon the type of surgery you are having.

  • Nerve blocks offer several benefits including better pain control, fewer medication side effects and the ability to start postoperative therapy faster so you can return home in less time.
    • Single-shot peripheral nerve block (PNB)—A shot of pain medication is given before surgery next to the nerve closest to the surgical area to numb the nerve and block pain.
    • Continuous peripheral nerve block (CPNB)—A catheter is placed under your skin next to the nerve by your surgical area (medication will be given though your IV to make sure that you are comfortable during the block placement). After surgery, the catheter is connected to a pump filled with a numbing medication. You will be able to adjust the pump to deliver more medication for extra pain relief when needed.
  • Local medication—Specialized pain medication are given to numb the surgical site area. Administered either by injection or through a catheter attached to a patient-controlled pump.
  • Epidural—A continuous flow of anesthetic is infused into the lower back through a catheter to numb the lower body.

By using these advanced pain management techniques, we are able to cut down on the pain sensation in the nerve area, allowing us to use less intravenous narcotics and leaving you more alert, free of nausea and able to participate more fully in your post-surgical rehabilitation. Your doctor or nurse will work with you to develop a personalized pain management plan.

After surgery

You will be taken into the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). You'll receive constant care from a post-anesthesia care nurse.

While you're coming out of anesthesia, your doctor may call or visit your family or friends to let them know how you're doing.

As the anesthesia wears off, you'll wake up in the brightly lit PACU.

  • Noises may seem louder than normal.
  • You may have blurry vision, a dry mouth, chills or nausea.
  • A nurse will check your dressing and blood pressure often.
  • You may have an IV or other tubes used for drainage.
  • Your surgery site may hurt or burn, so ask your nurse for pain medication if you need it.

Please ask us for pain relief when any pain first begins.

If you are having surgery, visit the Patient section for all the pre-op information you need.

For a physician referral, please call HealthConnection at 847.618.4YOU (4968), or view a list of surgeons at Northwest Community Hospital.

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Last Updated 2013/03/13