Ask The Doctor
Brian Rupert, MD,
Medical Director of Anesthesiology, Chief of Staff at CentraCare Health - Monticello
Question: I am scheduled to have knee replacement surgery. What are my anesthetic options?
Answer: There are a few anesthesia choices available for knee replacement surgery. Deciding which option is best for you depends on your choice combined with a thorough evaluation of your medical condition by the anesthesiologist. The two primary anesthetics for this type of procedure are either general anesthesia or a spinal anesthetic.
A general anesthesia is one where the patient goes completely to sleep with medicine administered through an IV. A small airway device is then used to help with breathing and safety during the procedure.
Another option is spinal anesthesia combined with sedation. The sedation medications are given through an IV along and an injection in the lower part of the back. This numbs the area from the waist down. With spinal anesthesia the patient is breathing on their own as opposed to general anesthesia where an airway device is used. Patients on blood thinners or who have had back surgery may not be candidates for spinal anesthesia.
Both methods are very effective ways of providing anesthesia for a knee replacement. Which is best for you will be determined when you meet your anesthesiologist and discuss your overall health history in detail. Regardless of the anesthetic choice, an anesthesia team member will be present with you throughout the procedure.
A nerve block is a procedure which uses a local anesthetic injection to provide prolonged pain relief for 12 to 24 hours to specific part of the body. This procedure is often performed for surgeries involving shoulders or knees. For a knee replacement surgery it would be recommended in addition to a general or spinal anesthetic for postoperative pain control.
CentraCare Health – Monticello offers various anesthetic options for other procedures as well including:
Peripheral Nerve Block - Numbs the upper or lower extremities.
IV Sedation - Medicine is given to help patients relax and the surgeon uses a local anesthetic to numb the surgical site.
Epidural Anesthetics for laboring moms - This involves a small tube placed in the lower back to provide a continuous flow of local anesthetics to relieve pain.
Intrathecal Opioid Injection - Laboring moms may choose this injection to relieve pain during labor.
At CentraCare Health – Monticello, our goal is to provide a safe and comfortable experience for all of our patients and that is why we offer a variety of anesthetic and sedation options, administered and monitored by experienced Anesthesiologists working with Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, to ensure the highest quality of care.
For more information about CentraCare Health – Monticello’s Surgical Services visit us at www.centracare.com/services/surgery/monticello/.
For questions specific to anesthetic care, please contact our Same Day Surgery Center at 763-271-2290 and ask to speak with one of the anesthesiologists. The anesthesiologists welcome the opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your anesthetic options for any upcoming surgery or procedure.