Frequently Asked Questions

General Anesthesia Questions

Q: What is an anesthesiologist?

A: An anesthesiologist is a doctor of medicine who has completed four years of medical school after graduating from college. Following medical school, today’s anesthesiologist completes four or more years of specialized medical training in the field of anesthesiology, which includes pain management and critical care medicine. Subspecialty fellowship years can also be served for subspecialty board certification in areas such as Chronic Pain Management. Many of our Anesthesiologists are fellowship trained and board certified in additional fields of medicine such as internal medicine.

Q: What is a C.R.N.A.?

A: A CRNA or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, (also referred to as a nurse anesthetist), is a master’s prepared advanced-practice nurse who has graduated from an accredited school of nurse anesthesia. They have the education and advanced skills to administer anesthetics as part of the anesthesia team, which consists of both CRNAs and Atlantic Anesthesia’s physician anesthesiologists. Many nurse anesthetists continue their education to the terminal degree level, earning a Ph.D.

Q: What does the anesthesiologist/CRNA do?

A: During Surgery, your anesthesia team is responsible for administering anesthesia while managing vital life functions, including breathing, heart rhythm, and blood pressure. Should you develop any medical problems during Surgery or in the recovery room, the anesthesia team will diagnose and treat them. They maintain constant critical care of the patient during Surgery, post-operative supervision of the recovery stay, and are often managing pain control during extended recoveries.

Q: When will I meet my anesthesiologist?

A: You will have a chance to meet and talk with an anesthesiologist during the pre-anesthesia interview, which will occur the day prior to your Surgery (if you are an in-patient) or the day of your admission (if you are scheduled through out-patient Surgery). Special consultation with an anesthesiologist can be arranged by notifying your surgeon.

Q: When will I meet my CRNA?

A: Should your care involve a CRNA, you will meet this team member during your pre-operative preparation on the day of your Surgery.

Q: What are the types of anesthesia?

A: There are three main types of anesthesia: general, regional, and monitored anesthesia care. 
General Anesthesia temporarily makes a person unconscious so that no pain is perceived from the entire body. It is a carefully balanced combination of both inhaled and intravenously injected agents which can be used for all operations.

Regional Anesthesia can only be used for Surgery on selected regions of the body. An injection of a local anesthetic medication adjacent to large groups of nerves temporarily prevents pain signals from reaching the brain. For example, for hip, prostate, or vascular Surgery, your anesthesiologist might recommend spinal or epidural anesthesia. You can be sedated throughout Surgery under regional anesthesia, which will cause you to feel sleepy, but you will be able to respond to questions. Some recall is possible and expected.

Obstetrical Pain Management FAQs

Q: Why can’t I eat or drink anything while in labor?

A: Any time anesthesia might be required, an empty stomach is preferred to decrease the risks associated with vomiting. Digestion of food slows significantly during labor. Oral intake should be limited to clear liquids while you are at home. Once you decide to come to the hospital or your obstetrician instructs you to come to the hospital, do not eat or drink anything until you have been admitted and evaluated on the labor/delivery unit. During labor, ice chips are available.

Q: What if I have significant medical problems or I have had problems related to anesthesia in the past?

A: Bring these problems to the attention of your obstetrician who will contact our group well in advance of your admission. Sometimes, a patient is asked to meet with an anesthesiologist before her due date to coordinate any special tests or additional consultations that might be needed. More often, consultation between your obstetrician and one of our anesthesiologists is sufficient.

Q: At what point may I have an epidural?

A: The decision to provide epidural analgesia will be made jointly by you and your obstetrical and anesthesia care teams. Our anesthesia group feels that no time is absolutely too early or too late to provide pain relief. However, before beginning an anesthetic, we will insist that you be examined by an obstetrician at least once following the onset or your labor. The above policy may be waived if we have knowledge that your obstetrician is on the way to examine you.

Q: Will an epidural alter the duration of labor?

A: Occasionally, if epidural analgesia is started very early, labor might slow for a very short period of time, but more often, epidural analgesia shortens labor because the patient is more relaxed and the baby comes down easier.

Q: Will I receive a bill from Atlantic Anesthesia, Inc.?

A: Yes. You will receive a bill for this professional care separate from your obstetrician’s bill and the hospital bill. Although the hospital bill will include anesthesia related supplies provided by the hospital, it does not include our professional fee.

You can call (757) 473-0044 for questions regarding our billing policies