September 01, 2020

Planning for anesthesia

If you have an upcoming medical or surgical procedure requiring anesthesia, you'll likely be well served by a visit to your primary care doctor a couple of weeks ahead of the date. Your doctor can help optimize your health and pass along health information to your anesthesiologist, which he or she will use to select the types and amounts of anesthetics needed.

In addition, discuss the following with your anesthesiologist prior to your procedure or surgery:

  • All medications or supplements you take — Take your prescription and nonprescription drugs and supplements to your pre-surgical visit. Some may interfere with anesthesia or increase surgical risks, and your doctor may recommend that you temporarily stop taking certain medications.
  • Current or former smoking, and secondhand smoke exposure — Smoking brings increased risks during and after surgery, so you are encouraged to stop smoking or avoid secondhand smoke prior to your surgery.
  • Marijuana and alcohol use — These substances may interact with — or affect the dosing of — certain anesthetics.
  • Health conditions — Mention conditions involving the heart, brain or lungs, as well as diseases such as diabetes and any history of heatstroke. General anesthesia may increase risk of complications related to obstructive sleep apnea. If you use a sleep apnea mask, ask about bringing it with you to the procedure.
  • Anesthesia reactions experienced by you or a blood relative — These may include discussing any postoperative nausea...