You will be wheeled into the operating room (OR) and connected to a variety of monitors which will keep a constant check on your vital signs. Shortly after you arrive in the OR, your Anesthesiologist will put you under sedation by adding sedative drugs to your IV line. Inhaled sedative agents may also be used. Once you are sufficiently sedated, you will be intubated and connected to a ventilator to ensure your breathing is even and regulated during surgery. At that time, the Anesthesiologist will deepen your sedation until you are completely unconscious and your muscles completely relaxed. Only then can surgery begin.
Depending on the type of spine surgery you are having (cervical, lumbar or sacral) the procedure and number of spine vertebrae or levels involved, your surgery may only take 45 minutes or it may take several hours. During this time, your spine surgeon, his Physician’s Assistant, the Anesthesiologist and the entire surgical team will work to ensure that your surgery is completed carefully, accurately and with your safety in mind.
After the surgery is completed, your Anesthesiologist will bring you out of your unconscious state safely by tapering to zero the amount of sedative that you are given. While you are still sedated, your breathing tube will be removed (extubation) and the Anesthesiologist will ensure that you are able to breathe steadily and safely on your own. You will be wheeled into the recovery room, where your vitals will be carefully monitored as you continue to awaken from the anesthesia. You will also be watched for any signs of distress or side effects from the anesthesia. Your pain level will be monitored and more pain medicine will be administered if needed.
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