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The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) is the professional association representing nearly 47,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and student registered nurse anesthetists nationwide.LEARN MORE


The American Society of Anesthesiologists is an educational research and scientific association of physicians organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology and improve the care of the patient.LEARN MORE

Patient Information

-What is anesthesia?

Anesthesia is freedom from pain. Each year, more than 26 million people in the United States undergo some form of medical treatment requiring anesthesia. Anesthesia, in the hands of qualified professionals like Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, is a safe and effective means of alleviating pain during nearly every type of medical procedure.

Anesthesia care is not confined to surgery alone. The process also refers to activities that take place both before and after an anesthetic is given.

+Who are your anesthesia care providers?

Your anesthesia care will be provided using the anesthesia care team model. This means one or more Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) will work as a team to care for you before during and after surgery. Rest assured that from the time you enter the operating room until your surgery is complete and you are in the recovery area, a member of the anesthesia department will constantly be present to care for you.

CNRAs are experienced critical care nurses who have graduate training in anesthesia. This includes a four-year undergraduate degree and a two to three-year master’s degree in anesthesia with at least 18 months of hands-on experience.

+What types of anesthesia are available?

There are three basic types of anesthesia:

General anesthesia produces a loss of sensation throughout the entire body.
Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) provides a reduced sense of anxiety and allows the patient to relax.
Local anesthesia produces a loss of sensation to a small specific area of the body.
A preoperative interview with your anesthesia professional will determine which anesthetic is best for you.

+How can you prepare for anesthesia?

Your doctor will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before your surgery. If you take any medicines regularly, ask you doctor if you should take them on the day before or the day of your surgery.

Ask a friend or family member to drive you home. Do not plan to drive yourself.

+Why can’t I eat or drink before surgery?

The main reason is safety. If you have food or liquid in your stomach at the time of surgery, it could put you at risk for vomiting and aspiration into the lungs, which could be life threatening.

+What are the risks of anesthesia?

Thankfully, anesthesia has never been safer. This is the result of the excellent training of your anesthesia providers and strict national standards, developed by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetist (AANA). All operations and anesthetics involve risks dependent on many factors, including your individual medical conditions and the type of surgery you are having. Major complications are fortunately very rare, and your anesthesia provider will take precautions to prevent them from occurring. The specific risks of your anesthetic will be discussed with you when you meet with your nurse anesthetist. At that time, the anesthetist will provide you with an informed consent form to review and sign.