Health Library

Anesthesia - what to ask your doctor - adult

Anesthesia - what to ask your doctor - adult

What to ask your doctor about anesthesia - adult


You are scheduled to have a surgery or procedure. You will need to talk with your doctor about the type of anesthesia that will be best for you. Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor.



Which type of anesthesia is best for me based on the procedure that I am having?

  • General anesthesia
  • Spinal or epidural anesthesia
  • Conscious sedation

When do I need to stop eating or drinking before having the anesthesia?

Is it alright to come alone to the hospital, or should someone come with me? Can I drive myself home?

If I am taking the following medicines, what should I do?

  • Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), other arthritis drugs, vitamin E, clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and any other drugs that make it hard for your blood to clot
  • Sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), or tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other supplements
  • Medicines for heart problems, lung problems, diabetes, or allergies
  • Other medicines I am supposed to take everyday

If I have asthma, COPD, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or any other medical problems, do I need to do anything special before I have anesthesia?

If I am nervous, can I get medicine to relax my nerves before going into the operating room?

After I receive the anesthesia:

  • Will I be awake or aware of what is happening?
  • Will I feel any pain?
  • Will someone be watching and making sure I am ok?

After the anesthesia wears off:

  • How soon will I wake up? How soon before I can get up and move around?
  • How long will I need to stay?
  • Will I have any pain?
  • Will I be sick to my stomach?

If I have spinal or epidural anesthesia, will I have a headache afterwards?

What if I have more questions after the surgery? Who can I talk to?




Apfelbaum JL, Silverstein JH, Chung FF, et al; American Society of Anesthesiologists. Practice guidelines for postanesthetic care: an updated report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Postanesthetic Care. Anesthesiology. 2013;118(2):291-307. PMID 23364567

Hernandez A, Sherwood ER. Anesthesiology principles, pain management, and conscious sedation. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 14.

BACK TO TOPText only


        A Closer Look


        Talking to your MD


        Self Care


        Tests for Anesthesia - what to ask your doctor - adult


          Review Date: 9/17/2016

          Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.