Our anesthesiologists use anesthesia techniques described below which have been developed and specifically tailored for a total knee replacement.
Our goal is to provide you with a safe and comfortable experience. We tailor the anesthesia specifically for you. In general, your anesthesia for this surgical procedure will likely consist of three main parts:
- Regional Anesthesia – please see our section on regional anesthesia for more details. With very few exceptions, we and your surgeon both recommend some form of regional anesthesia. Your anesthesiologist will discuss the details with you before your surgery, but typically the regional anesthesia procedure will take place prior to your entering the operating room. Depending on your surgeon, your anesthesiologist, and you, the regional technique will either consist of a single injection of numbing medication, or placement of a nerve catheter. The goal of the regional anesthesia is to maximize your comfort, and minimize your pain both during and after the procedure.
- Once the regional anesthesia has been placed, you will be brought back to the operating room where your anesthesiologists may offer you some relaxation medication in preparation for the spinal anesthesia. The spinal anesthesia involves using a hair-sized needle to provide a single injection of numbing medication to your lower back, which will numb both of your legs. This allows for further comfort and further reduction in pain both during and after your procedure. Because your body is now comfortable, the amount of anesthesia that your anesthesiologist will use to keep you relaxed is significantly less. This usually results in less of the bothersome side effects commonly associated with anesthesia, such as nausea, drowsiness, and lethargy.
- Most people prefer to sleep during the procedure, and your anesthesiologist can give you medications to help you stay comfortable. Many people describe pleasant dreams from this part of the anesthesia.
Your anesthesiologist will remain with you for the duration of your procedure. Following the procedure, your anesthesiologist will accompany you to the recovery area, where you will be monitored closely. This is the period where you will continue to awaken, and hopefully the tailored anesthesia has left you pain free and nausea free, but we will be there to address any pain or nausea you may have.
If you’ve had a nerve catheter placed, your anesthesiologist will prescribe the appropriate medication to be delivered over the next couple of days to help minimize your discomfort.