Your surgery can be performed using two most commonly known types of anesthesia: general or regional anesthesia. General anesthesia involves the patient being put to sleep with medicine that is administered through an IV. You will remain asleep and comfortable until the surgery is complete. Regional anesthesia is when you receive an injection in the area involved in your surgery. This numbs the area during your procedure and patients have the option of being lightly or heavily sedated during the injections and/or for the surgery.
After your surgery, the anesthesiologist in charge of your pain management will control your pain using medication that is administered continuously through a tiny catheter at the injection site or as needed through patient controlled analgesia (PCA) where the patient can administer small doses of pain medication in intervals with the push of a button.
In general, the more intensive amounts of anesthesia mean longer time for the patient to recover from surgery. While comfort is the goal, it is also our focus for patients to recover and return to normal, everyday life as quickly as possible. With that in mind, our highly trained anesthesiologists will work with you and your surgeon to make sure that you receive appropriate dosages and have access to options that may quicken your recovery time.
Regional nerve blocks involve injecting a regional anesthetic near a specific nerve or nerve bundle where it is absorbed into the nerve and disables pain sensations. Nerve blocks can be administered before or after a procedure as needed. Capital Health's anesthesiologists prefer to administer nerve blocks before procedures to reduce the amount of general anesthesia needed for surgery, which reduces the side effects caused by general anesthesia (including, but not limited to, nausea, confusion and sleepiness) and speeds your recovery. And because nerve blocks work only on the isolated areas of the body where surgery is taking place, they put less stress on the body than using general anesthesia which affects the entire body.
Capital Health's anesthesiologists are highly trained in ultrasound-guided nerve blocks which provide greater accuracy and efficiency.
Nerve blocks are typically not used as the only method of pain management but as part of a more comprehensive pain management plan that is created for each patient based on personal preferences and physician recommendations. Be sure to discuss your pain management plan with your surgeon prior to surgery to see if nerve blocks are appropriate for you. They can be used extensively for most orthopedic procedures and provide up to 12-24 hours of pain relief.