Dr. Derek Mitchell will lead Thursday's Walk with a Doc program. He is scheduled to talk about surgical anesthesia.
Mitchel is a board certified anesthesiologist with U.S. Anesthesia Partners-Tyler.
Walk with a Doc, a project of the Smith County Medical Society, begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Rose Rudman Recreational Trail's Copeland Road trailhead, followed by walking.
Q:  Are there particular preparations a person should take prior to an elective surgery -- a week before, day before, morning of?
A: In general, keep doing what you're doing.  Take your regular medicines.  If you take a blood thinner (including aspirin), your surgeon may ask you to stop that for a certain number of days.  If you are a smoker, not smoking for a few days doesn't help.  Studies show that unless you abstain from smoking for about 2 weeks, then you're better off to keep smoking.  If you take insulin for diabetes, you are usually asked to take half of your normal morning dose.  Your last meal needs to be at least 8 hours before your scheduled surgery.  On the morning of surgery, you may be asked to take some of your medicines with a sip of water.  Otherwise, nothing goes in your mouth - no food, liquid, gum, breath mints, or tobacco.  Contrary to popular belief, this has nothing to do with nausea or vomiting.  It helps prevent stomach contents from finding their way into your lungs.  That can lead to terrible complications - including death. 
Q: What are common reasons an elective surgery or procedure that requires anesthesia has to be cancelled on the day of surgery?
A: The most common reasons for same day cancellations are because of abnormal lab values or because the patient decided to eat breakfast.  Please follow your physicians pre-operative instructions regarding when to eat and what medicines to take or hold leading up to surgery. 
Q: May I choose the form of anesthesia I receive for an elective surgery or procedure? 
A: Your anesthesiologist will discuss your anesthetic options and his or her recommendations regarding the mode of anesthesia during the pre-operative visit the day of surgery.  It is ultimately the patient's decision.  

Q: How do I know if my anesthesia will be provided by an anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist? May I choose?
A: Most of the anesthetics in Tyler (and the rest of the country) are currently done under a "care team" model.  This means that your anesthetic care is being directed or supervised by an anesthesiologist who works closely with a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).  You may always request a certain anesthesiologist and/or CRNA.  Accommodations are made for these requests whenever possible. 

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