You will probably receive intravenous sedation for your surgery at HSS, which you will experience as sleep. Although most of the joint-related surgical procedures at HSS are performed using "regional" anesthesia techniques (epidural, spinal, or "nerve blocks"), the vast majority of patients also receive intravenous sedation during their surgery (often similar to the sedation you would get for a colonoscopy procedure.) Patients find that the combination of regional anesthesia and intravenous sedation provides a safe, comfortable anesthetic experience that also has unique advantages (lower infection rates, less post-operative nausea and vomiting, better pain control, and reduction in post-operative complications such as blood clots.)
We try to do everything we can to reduce your risk of post-operative nausea and vomiting. Most joint-related surgical procedures at HSS are performed with "regional" anesthesia techniques (epidural, spinal, or "nerve blocks") in combination with intravenous sedation (to provide "sleep"). Regional anesthesia combined with intravenous sedation is much less likely to cause nausea and vomiting after surgery compared to general anesthesia. In addition, we routinely give anti-nausea medications as part of your anesthetic to lower your risk of post-operative nausea and vomiting. If you have concerns about nausea and vomiting, please discuss them with your anesthesiologist when you meet him/her on the day of your surgery.
Keeping you comfortable and safe are two of our most important goals for your anesthesia care. Orthopedic procedures can cause significant postoperative pain, but at HSS we do everything we can to keep you comfortable after your surgery. From an anesthesia perspective, we usually use "regional" anesthesia techniques for most joint-related surgery combined with the latest post-operative pain control methods. You are closely monitored by physicians, nurses, and other medical staff throughout your stay. If you are staying in the hospital after your surgery, your pain control will often be co-ordinated for you by the Anesthesiology-run Acute Pain Service. The Acute Pain Service is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Complex pain situations are managed in co-ordination with the Musculoskeletal and Interventional Pain Management Service or Recuperative Pain Service. Reducing your postoperative pain is very important, and we have very effective strategies at HSS to keep you comfortable.