Anesthesia for Ambulatory Surgery

With improved technology and advances in anesthesia and pain management, many less-invasive surgical procedures can now be performed in the ambulatory, or outpatient, setting.

This means that you go to the hospital or surgery center on the day of your surgery, undergo your procedure, and return home the same day. This approach has proven to be safe, convenient and cost-effective.

At Spectrum, we have a team of highly trained anesthesiologists who specialize in providing anesthesia in the ambulatory setting. So while most ambulatory surgery is less complex than procedures requiring hospitalization, you still receive the same high standard of anesthesia care that you’d receive in the inpatient setting.

How is anesthesia for ambulatory surgery different?

Because ambulatory surgery procedures are less invasive, they tend to take less time. So your Spectrum anesthesiologist uses short-acting anesthetics and special techniques to keep you safe and comfortable during your procedure. This also ensures that you’re ready to go home soon after surgery.

It’s important to understand that, even though your anesthesia is short acting, you shouldn’t drive after your procedure. You must have a designated driver bring you to and from the surgery center. We also recommend that a friend or family member stay with you for the first 24 hours that you’re home after surgery.

What kind of anesthesia is used in ambulatory surgery?

Various anesthetic techniques may be used in ambulatory surgery, including:

  • General anesthesia affects the entire body and causes you to lose consciousness
  • Regional anesthesia, such as spinals or nerve blocks, numbs a specific part of the body but you remain aware
  • Local anesthesia with sedation: local anesthesia numbs a small area, while sedation produces a state of calm or sleep and may be mild, moderate or deep

What to expect from your anesthesiologist during ambulatory surgery

Your Spectrum anesthesiologist will be involved in every phase of your outpatient surgery:

When you arrive at the surgery center, a nurse will admit you, check your vital signs, and help you to change

  • Your Spectrum anesthesiologist will review your medical history, and discuss the anesthetic plan with you before proceeding
  • When you’re ready for surgery, an intravenous line will be started, and you may be given IV sedation to help you relax

Throughout your procedure, your anesthesiologist will:

  • Continuously monitor your vital signs
  • Control your pain and level of consciousness to ensure that you’re safe and comfortable
  • Adjust your anesthetic, as needed

After your procedure, you’ll be moved to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) and be monitored as you recover from the anesthetic

  • Your anesthesiologist will continue to oversee your care, assessing and treating pain or other side effects
  • When you feel ready to go home, you’ll receive instructions about activity, diet, pain medications, and other after-care

We’ll call to see how you’re doing

A day or two after your procedure, we’ll call to see how you’re feeling. We value your feedback, so if you have any concerns about your anesthesia experience, please let us know and we’ll follow up promptly.

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