Anesthesiology at Michigan
Our job at the University of Michigan is to make your surgical procedure as safe, comfortable and efficient as possible. Our primary emphasis is on safety. Although we perform nearly 60,000 procedures a year, we focus our efforts on meeting you and your family’s individual needs and concerns. It is completely normal to be anxious when you are anticipating undergoing a surgical procedure.
One way we, as anesthesiologists, can reduce those fears is to ensure that you are fully informed about the process and have a discussion regarding the options of the types of anesthesia and the types of pain management available to you following your surgical procedure. After you have discussed with your surgeon your decision to proceed with your surgical procedure, you have set the wheels in motion for our institution to contact you at several levels.
- The staff in your surgeon’s office will schedule the date and place for your surgery.
- The nursing staff from our operating rooms will contact you to confirm this information and discuss the specific time for you to arrive. They will also review and discuss the importance of following your preoperative instructions.
- The anesthesiologist assigned to your procedure will contact you the evening before your surgery, if possible.
If you have significant other medical conditions you may be referred to the Advanced Testing Clinic run by the Department of Anesthesiology. At this clinic visit you will meet with an anesthesiologist to discuss the surgical procedure, your other medical problems, and the types of anesthesia that may work best for your surgery. The anesthesiologist you meet in this preoperative clinic will not be the anesthesiologist you will have for your surgical procedure. This is because the operating room schedule is complex for our 75 total sites where we provide anesthesia for a wide-variety of surgical and medical procedures. Our anesthesiologists are scheduled in these various sets of ORs according to their specific subspecialty training and skills. The OR schedule is made out months in advance to ensure the anesthesiologist with the specific skills and knowledge regarding your surgical procedure will be available for your day of surgery. For this reason it is not possible to have that specific anesthesiologist meet with you in the Advanced Testing Clinic. The Advanced Testing Clinic is made up of a specific set of anesthesiologists who work in that clinic on a weekly basis. They will be able to answer all your questions and will communicate with the anesthesiologist who is schedule for your surgery.
The day before your surgical procedure you should be contacted by the OR nursing staff and you may also be called the evening before your procedure by an anesthesiologist who will be the one caring for you the next morning. This may not always happen, especially for those patients who are traveling to Ann Arbor the day before, which may make it difficult to contact you.
You will be instructed to come to the Preoperative Waiting Room Area 1 ½ - 2 hrs before your scheduled procedure, depending upon whether you are to be admitted or managed as an outpatient. When you are called to the Preop Holding Area you will meet the anesthesia team who will be caring for you. They will review your history and the plan for your procedure and the anesthetic care you will be provided. At this time you can ask them additional question to ensure that you are well aware of what is going to happen. The anesthesia care team will go over that process with you. Your team will be composed of a faculty anesthesiologist and an anesthesiology resident or CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist). They may again ask you your preferences and make recommendations regarding the management of your postoperative pain. How this will be managed will be a decision which you may make in conjunction with the recommendations of the anesthesia team and surgeon. In the Preoperative Holding Area you will be allowed to have a family member with you while you wait, up until you go to the operating room. Just prior to going to the operating room you will most likely receive a sedative drug that will calm you and may provide some amnesia for that period. Once in the operating room we will place monitors on you and you will be provided more anesthetic. Depending on whether you are having a general anesthesia (going completely to sleep) or having a regional technique (where they numb up a part of your body) or just some sedation, you may or may not remember some of the events in the operating room. We will be with you all the time throughout the procedure and at the end we will take you to the Recovery Room.
In the Recovery Room your care will be transferred to the Recovery Room Nurse and an anesthesiologist who is assigned to the Recovery Room all day. They will watch over you while you recover from the anesthesia and manage your pain through the IV to ensure you are comfortable. When you are recovered, if you are to be admitted into the Hospital, you will then be transferred to your hospital room. At that point your family can meet with you. If you are undergoing outpatient surgery, where you will be going home, you will be transferred from the Phase One regular Recovery Room to the Phase Two Recovery Room where you will complete your final recovery, have your IV removed and have your discharge instructions reviewed for your care at home. During this Phase Two recovery period you will again have a family member with you. The nurse will go over the discharge instructions with you and your family member or friend who will accompany you home and be with you that first night after surgery.
Again, our goal at the University of Michigan is to ensure you have a safe and comfortable experience. Sometimes the surgical procedures can go longer than anticipated so it is possible that you may be waiting a bit longer than scheduled. We do our best to stay on schedule, but our primary interest is your safety and that your surgical procedure is completed as planned. Medicine is a combination of science and art, and even the most skilled surgeons may take longer than they estimate to ensure the surgical procedure is completed properly. If you have any questions, before or after your surgical procedure, regarding your anesthesia care please feel free to contact me.
Kevin K. Tremper, PhD, MD
Robert B. Sweet Professor and Chair
Department of Anesthesiology
Office Phone: 734-936-4235