Anesthesia Options

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The final decision on your anesthesia options are between the patient & their doctor. For surgery below your waist, there are two basic options: full anesthesia, where you are totally out; or spinal/ epidural, where they basically numb you from your waist down, you breathe on your own & they give you amnesia & sleeping drugs for the duration of the surgery.

In general, full anesthesia has more risks associated with it since they put a breathing tube down your throat while you are totally out. It also takes much longer to recover from full anesthesia. With a spinal/ epidural, you will usually be awake at the end of the surgery, and awake during your recovery room stay. There you will see those coming out of full anesthesia, many who don't even remember the recovery room. With the spinal/ epidural, the numbness below your waist wears off, a similar feeling when you have any major procedure with your dentist.

Bob Faught's Experience with Anesthesia:

In Bob's nine major joint surgeries, six knee arthroscopy, two total knee replacements & his total right hip replacement, he had full anesthesia thirty years ago on his first knee arthroscopy. He remembers how much time it took to just recover from the anesthesia & doctors telling him patients say some of the wildest things while under full anesthesia. All Bob's other joint surgeries were done under spinal/epidural.

Also, since Bob always wanted to know what was going on during the procedures, he has always elected to have surgery with no amnesia or sleeping medications. He has always been wide awake, talking with the doctors & nurses throughout the surgery. This has helped Bob in better educating other patients, as you will see in the "Patients - Joint Replacement" web page.

Femoreal Block

The femoral block has become an effective weapon against pain after surgery on the knee. Patients undergoing total joint replacement or anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction have been helped greatly by femoral blocks. The femoral block takes place at the femoral nerve in the groin area. To locate the nerve, they use a very low amount of electrical current through the needle to stimulate the nerve, usually with the patient's leg twitching. Then they inject a long-acting medicine similar to lidocaine to numb the front of the knee.

Because the femoral block does not numb the back of the knee, it is inadequate for anesthesia for surgery. The numbness lasts an average of 16 hours, but can have pain-relieving properties up to 3 days on some patients. The block alone is not enough pain relief, so patients will use other medicine for full pain relief.

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