Tips for Patients Considering Ambulatory Surgery

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Tips for Patients Considering Ambulatory Surgery

The American Society of Anesthesiologists has compiled these tips for patients considering surgery in ambulatory surgery facilities. If you have any additional questions, be sure to discuss them with your physician:

  • Always check the credentials and background of the physicians performing the procedure, including the anesthesiologist.
  • Find out if the medical staff is trained and certified to perform the procedure you will undergo. Ask if office or ambulatory center where your surgery will be performed is licensed and accredited to perform surgical procedures. Without adequate regulations, ambulatory surgery may be performed in facilities with limited or outdated equipment, inadequately trained anesthesia personnel, little or no established patient safety standards and no accreditation requirements.
  • Determine if the advertised procedure really is performed with no anesthesia. If any anesthetics are used, be sure the person administering them is certified and trained to properly administer the drugs and monitor patients. Even “anesthesia cocktails” advertised to provide safe pain relief during procedures can be dangerous and require proper administration and monitoring by trained anesthesia professionals.
  • Make sure you are in optimal health before any procedure. If you have medical problems, you may need clearance from your primary care physician before surgery. An anesthesiologist can help determine if this clearance is necessary.
  • Find out who will monitor you during the procedure - the surgeon, a nurse or an anesthesiologist? Only a medical professional specifically trained to administer anesthesia and monitor patients should monitor you throughout a procedure.
  • Meet with your anesthesiologist or anesthesia provider before you receive anesthesia to properly discuss your medical history and the procedure. Ask questions and address any concerns you may have regarding the procedure including pain relief and recovery.
  • Notify all physicians of all medications you are taking or recently took, including herbal remedies. Herbal remedies and other medications can interact with anesthetics and medications you may receive for the procedure.
  • Check the total costs of the procedures – initial quotes may not include all physician or office fees. Ensure that there will be no surprises on final invoices from all providers. If claims will be submitted to insurance companies, ask if all providers are covered by your insurance plan.


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The ASA does not employ physician anesthesiologists on staff and cannot respond to patient inquiries regarding specific medical conditions or anesthesia administration. Please direct any questions related to anesthetics, procedures or treatment outcomes to the patient’s anesthesiologist or general physician.