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Spinal vs. general anesthesia? Spinal vs. general anesthesia?

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Unread 07-24-2004, 11:45 AM
Spinal vs. general anesthesia?

I discussed both spinal and general anesthesia with my gyn surgeon. He said I will be discussing this in detail with the anesthesiologist pre-op and the surgeon has no personal preference; it will be between me and the anesthesiologist.

My TVH will take approximately 2 to 2-1/2 hours because of the size of my uterus. There is a 10% chance if problems arise it could progress to a LAVH or TAH, but the surgeon does not think this is likely.

I do have a big fear of going under a general, as I have no adult experience with surgery. However, I have concerns with a spinal, too. How "awake" am I? If I hear or see things that I don't understand, how likely is one would be awake enough to be truly afraid and wish they had been put under?! My surgeon reminded me there will be several staff and lots of commotion, sounds, etc., I may not be familiar with. He was not intending to turn me off to a spinal, just to make me aware of the OR environment.

What are the reasons one would have a spinal vs. general? For those who have had a spinal, did you hear everything going on? Were you scared? Thanks.
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Unread 07-24-2004, 12:41 PM
Spinal vs. general anesthesia?

I asked my doc about spinal vs. general because I am so sensitive to meds... She encouraged me to stick with general. She's had a few patients start with the spinal and ask to be put out due to the noise. She also prefers the patient to be completely out just to ensure there is no coughing, throat clearing, etc. that moves the abdominal muscles while she's working in there.

She wasn't pushy, but voiced her preference pretty clearly. I trust her, so I'm going with the general.

Try to have the same type of conversation with your surgeon and anesthesiologist. You'll feel better just for having clarified things.

Take care,
Unread 07-24-2004, 01:03 PM
Spinal vs. general anesthesia?

i have to start by saying that i requested general from the start. i also requested that i be given something for nausea with the anesthesia. nausea was the only bad affect i was afraid of with general.

i was so, so nervous about surgery.

i definately did NOT want to know what was going on or feel any pressure/movement from what they were doing down there.

my mother is a nurse and also explained about all the commotion in an O/R. i thought that that would make me even more jittery.

i explained to the anesthesiologist and doctor how frightened i was before the surgery. they gave me something in my i.v. to calm me before wheeling me to the O/R. it worked! i barely remember entering the O/R at all and the next thing i knew i was waking up feeling very crampy in recovery. they got my pain controlled quickly then i was off to my room.

it's a personal decision.

i was very happy with my choice.

good luck,
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Unread 07-24-2004, 02:09 PM
Spinal vs. general anesthesia?

Miss Mish,

Thanks for your description! You say you barely remember entering the OR because you had been sedated due to fear of surgery. Since I feel like I'll need to be calmed down before surgery as well, I'll be sure to mention it to my doctor.

Can you do me a favor and tell me how the meds that sedated you before the OR made you feel? I'm not familiar with effects from sedating meds. Do you feel happy, not a care in the world, just very sleepy, .... ???

I would love to know. I don't want to see the OR!
Unread 07-24-2004, 02:28 PM
hi again

well, i was so nervous and crying and there was so much going on (sign this, sign that, questions to answer, crying to my fella, blood drawing--i'm very needle phobic and was sure to tell them) it's hard to say.

i think that they didn't give me the sedative until shortly before they wheeled me out of the pre-op room. i remember talking to my friend and my fella and them saying i'd be fine. i guess i was falling to sleep. i must have entered doors to another area or even the O/R then because i remember Fella not being there. then i recall that the lights in the O/R were in a round pattern. that's it until the recovery room.

i think i might have been spoken to and replied when i got into the O/R but it's not a clear memory.

i only wish i'd asked for the sedative sooner. i guess i still had questions to answer and forms to sign, anyway.

just ask you doctor if it will be possible to have something before the O/R and what it will be and do. every doc is different, but i think a little something for nerves beforehand is quite common.

just called Fella to confirm. he said i was falling asleep about halfway down the hall to the O/R doors and that the anesthesiologist came in shortly before they wheeled me out to the O/R to give me "something to calm" me.

that stuff worked fast!

hope this was helpful,
Unread 07-24-2004, 04:21 PM
Spinal vs. general anesthesia?

I had both a spinal and general anesthesia for my surgery, but it was abdominal. Since I have had some trouble waking up from gen. anesthesia and also some nausea, the anesthesiologist urged me to have the spinal. She said the spinal was for pain reduction and that it would also allow her to give me LESS anesthesia. Well, I am here to say it worked great. I woke up just fine, had very little pain, and no nausea. So my recommendation is not for one or the other, but for both! I had NO lasting effects from the spinal, and it wasn't even as bad as a normal shot when she put it in.
Unread 07-24-2004, 05:19 PM
Spinal vs. general anesthesia?

Hi Ladies,

I wish I could have a choice. At the hosp. I am going to they never do a TAH with a spinal, only general. I was upset not to be able to have the spinal. I am petrified of going under.
I did not know this until very recently...too late to back out now.
I know I am a big baby!
Unread 07-24-2004, 06:01 PM
Spinal vs. general anesthesia?

I have had both general and spinal anesthesia.

With the spinal I have to admit I didn't like the noise in the O.R. and felt panicked. They strap you down pretty tight so you don't move - including both arms - one for B.P. and one for I.V. Because I moved too soon I got a spinal headache for 2 weeks. I felt fine laying flat but if I sat up I got a severe headache.

I still would prefer a spinal because I don't like the nausea and coughing after general anesthesia. The aftereffects of the general seem to last longer in your body too, but my dr. insisted on general.
Unread 07-24-2004, 08:33 PM
Spinal vs. general anesthesia?

Newgal, my TVH/BSO was done under spinal anesthesia with sedation, and I'd choose the same type of anesthesia for future surgeries (if I need future surgeries.)

My doctor suggested spinal anesthesia to me because I've had problems in the past with severe nausea and vomiting and killer headaches, when I had general anesthesia.

In the preop waiting area, my anesthesiologist injected "something to help me relax," which was Versed, AKA midazolam. At that point, I had an IV, but no other tubes. I relaxed, and then...

The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room. I have no memory of the spinal catheter being placed, of the urinary catheter being placed, or of my surgery. Nada. All of the unpleasant stuff happened while I was sedated, in La-la Land. When I regained consciousness, my legs were numb from the knees down. Half an hour later, when I arrived on the patient care floor, I had complete sensation in my legs, and I was ready to walk. I had no headache, no nausea, and no vomiting.

The anesthesiologist can sedate you as lightly or heavily as you like. If you want to remember your surgery, you can. If you're like me, and don't want to remember anything about your surgery, your doctor can sedate you a bit more heavily.

For me, spinal anesthesia with sedation was a great choice. If you have more questions, please feel free to send me a Private Message, and I'll be glad to answer your questions.

Best wishes, and good luck with your surgery,
Unread 07-25-2004, 10:11 AM
Spinal vs. general anesthesia?

This may be a naive question, but I did not have an epidural with childbirth and am not familiar with spinal anesthesia.

Is the epidural given with childbirth, or the "spinal" given with a C-section basically the same kind of spinal anesthesia given during a hyst for those you elect this?

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