When one discusses the experience of surgery under regional anesthesia, an explanation of sedation is required. Patients are often very concerned about what they will feel during surgery.
At HSS, sedation is a significant part of an enjoyable surgical experience. We provide medicines that relieve anxiety and pain before the performance of most blocks so that patients are usually unaware that they have experienced an anesthetic procedure. In other words, they don’t even remember “the needle.” Once patients understand that they will feel no discomfort during this part of surgery, most of the anxiety is eliminated.
The level of sedation experienced during surgery varies from patient to patient. They may remember every detail of the surgery, or they may not remember anything until they wake up in the recovery room. There are many factors that determine how awake or asleep the patient is during the surgery, including the type of surgery, the patient’s position, any heart, lung, or airway anomalies, and the comfort level of the surgeon and anesthesiologist. In the end, it is the decision of the attending anesthesiologist as to how to manage the patient’s awareness during regional anesthesia in order to provide the safest, most enjoyable experience possible.