Regional Anesthesia Pathways for Patients Having Orthopedic Surgery
If you are having orthopedic surgery, this is the path that you will follow in our hospital:
1. Arrival at the preoperative area
When you arrive in the preoperative area, a team of nurses will greet you, check your medical file, and ask you some security questions. Do not be concerned as our staff members may repeatedly ask you the following security questions:
- What is your name?
- What is your date of birth?
- What procedure will be performed (and on what side)?
After the security check confirmation, you will be dressed in a hospital gown, and a nurse will place an (intravenous) IV line in your hand or arm. This is necessary for the safety and administration of IV fluids and medications.
2. Arrival at the N-block room to meet your nurses and anesthesiologist
When the operating room is ready for you, your nurse will transfer you from the preoperative area to the N-block room. Here, your anesthetist will introduce him/herself, perform another security check, and explain the anesthesia procedures planned for you with their respective benefits and risks. The anesthetist will have the information you have already given during the preoperative consultation. The anesthetist will also answer all your questions and listen to your preferences before choosing the best anesthetic plan for your surgery.
3. Getting ready for the block
The anesthetist will administer the regional anesthesia 30-60 minutes before the operation. The anesthetist will first clean your skin with a cleaning solution and administer some medication through your IV line to relieve tension and anxiety.
4. The block procedure
Depending on the location of surgery, regional anesthesia may be in the shoulder-arm, back, or leg regions. The regional anesthesia procedure is selected specifically for you and the type of operation to provide anesthesia for the surgery.
(see below the specific information according to your surgery)
Commonly, your anesthetist will use an ultrasound machine to identify the correct place of needle insertion. Once the correct location is selected, the numbing medication (i.e., local anesthetic) is administered. The administration of regional anesthesia typically takes a few minutes (10-15 minutes). If you experience any discomfort during this time, you should communicate it to your anesthetist, who will then adjust the procedure and/or level of medication to your comfort.
After the numbing medication is administered, you will gradually begin to feel the loss of sensation in the area where the regional anesthesia was applied.
5. The surgery
When the surgeon and his team are ready, they will meet you at the N-block room and perform an additional security check. After their security check, you will be transferred to the surgery room. Your anesthetist will work with you to adjust the medication to your desired level of awareness. If you prefer – you can be completely awake, or lightly asleep. Your anesthetist will be with you at all times to assure your safety and comfort during the operation. If you experience discomfort or pain, you can get additional medication.
6. After the operation
Once your operation is completed, you will be transferred to the recovery room. Here, you will be cared for and watched carefully to make sure that there are no complications of the operation and/or anesthesia. This step usually takes a couple of hours. Once the recovery room staff rules out any complications, you will be transferred to your room to continue recovery. If you were planned for day surgery and feeling well, you will be sent home as soon as you feel ready. With many procedures done under regional anesthesia, patients can go home the same day, shortly after the surgery.