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Anesthesia - what to ask your doctor - adult

You are scheduled to have a surgery or procedure. You will need to talk with your doctor about the type of anesthesia that will be best for you. Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor.


Which type of anesthesia is best for me based on the procedure that I am having?

  • General anesthesia
  • Spinal or epidural anesthesia
  • Conscious sedation

When do I need to stop eating or drinking before having the anesthesia?

Is it alright to come alone to the hospital, or should someone come with me? Can I drive myself home?

If I am taking the following medicines, what should I do?

  • Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), other arthritis drugs, vitamin E, clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and any other drugs that make it hard for your blood to clot
  • Sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), or tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other supplements
  • Medicines for heart problems, lung problems, diabetes, or allergies
  • Other medicines I am supposed to take everyday

If I have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or any other medical problems, do I need to do anything special before I have anesthesia?

If I am nervous, can I get medicine to relax my nerves before going into the operating room?

After I receive the anesthesia:

  • Will I be awake or aware of what is happening?
  • Will I feel any pain?
  • Will someone be watching and making sure I am ok?

After the anesthesia wears off:

  • How soon will I wake up? How soon before I can get up and move around?
  • How long will I need to stay?
  • Will I have any pain?
  • Will I be sick to my stomach?

If I have spinal or epidural anesthesia, will I have a headache afterwards?

What if I have more questions after the surgery? Who can I talk to?

Alternate Names

What to ask your doctor about anesthesia - adult


American Society of Anesthesiologists. Practice guidelines for postanesthetic care: an updated report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Postanesthetic Care. Anesthesiology. 2013;118:291-307. PMID 23364567 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23364567.

Malhotra V, Mack PF. Quality of care and patient safety. In: Miller RD, Pardo MC, eds. Basics of Anesthesia. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 47.

Update Date 10/25/2014

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