Ambulatory anesthesia is used for surgical procedures where the patient does not need to stay overnight in the hospital. The same anesthetics that are used in the operating room setting are used in the ambulatory setting, including general, regional and local anesthetics.
In outpatient clinics, your primary physician is an anesthesiologist. It is this person who will supervise your visit from entering the center to your release at the end of your operation and successful recovery.
What kind of operation is appropriate for ambulatory surgery?
Appropriate procedures for ambulatory surgery are those associated with postoperative care that is easily managed at home, and with low rates of postoperative complications that require intensive physician or nursing management.
The same anesthetic techniques used in hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers are used in office-based surgery. They include:
- Local Anesthesia, which provides numbness to a small area of the body, such as a dermatologist might use to numb the skin around a mole before removing it.
- Monitored Anesthesia, (Sedation/Analgesia), during which a patient receives medications that relieve pain and make the patient drowsy. During surgery, the patient's vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level, will be watched closely in order to avoid sudden changes or complications.
- Regional Anesthesia, which can include spinal blocks, epidural blocks or extremity blocks. Spinal and epidural blocks involve interrupting sensation from the legs or abdomen by injecting local anesthetic medication in or near the spinal canal. Other blocks can be performed for surgery on your extremities, or limbs, blocking sensations from the arm or leg.
- General Anesthesia, which involves the total loss of consciousness, pain sensation and protective airway responses.
Procedures performed in day surgery
Procedures include dental, general surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, pediatric, urology, ENT, gynecology, ophthalmology, pain clinic patients, and plastic surgery.
Common side effects
Common side effects after ambulatory surgery include nausea, vomiting, headache, sore throat, pain not related to the incision, dizziness, shivering and drowsiness for at least 24 hours. These side effects should be discussed with your anesthesiologist and/or surgeon.