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What happens during a preanesthesia visit with my anesthesiologist?

The preanesthesia visit is an important visit when you will have a chance to learn about your options for anesthesia and to ask questions. It is also a time when the anesthesia care team can review your medical records, do a focused physical exam and make decisions about ordering additional tests and consultations.

The interview with the anesthesiologist is a key part of this review. During this interview, the anesthesiologist may ask questions that cover the following:
  • your general health, including any recent changes
  • allergies to medications or other items
  • chronic (long-term) medical problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, acid reflux and sleep apnea
  • recent hospital admissions, including surgery or procedures 
  • previous experiences with anesthesia, especially any problems
Some people keep their own health records on paper or in an electronic format. To help you answer these questions it is a good idea to bring any documents that describe your health history, as well as a list of all your medications.

When there are different anesthesia alternatives, such as general or regional (nerve block) anesthesia, your anesthesiologist may give you information about these options and then ask about your preferences.

At the conclusion of your visit, you should
  • have clear instructions on when to stop eating and drinking before surgery
  • know what medications you should or should not take on the day of surgery (and sometimes even a few days leading up to surgery)
  • know what type of anesthesia will be given to you (keep in mind that things may change between the day of your pre-operative visit and your procedure that result in modifying the anesthesia plan)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.