At UNC Medical Center, our anesthesiology team shares a singular goal: providing the best possible care for our patients. We provide a full spectrum of expert anesthesia care to nearly 70,000 patients each year - from newborns to seniors.
We provide patient-centered care in a variety of areas, including outpatient surgeries, elective surgeries, pain management, inpatient invasive procedures, intensive care units and emergencies. Our teams of providers specialize in pediatric surgery, obstetrical care, cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, vascular surgery, transplant surgery, critical care and pain management.
Through North Carolina Women's Hospital, our obstetrical anesthesia team offers the latest anesthetic techniques alongside our maternal and neonatal experts. At North Carolina Children's Hospital, our extensive pediatric anesthesia team is dedicated to providing advanced, family-centered pediatric pain, sedation and consultation services.
Through multiple joint projects and research, we continuously work alongside our healthcare colleagues to improve anesthesia care for any procedure in our many locations. Our team offers the latest patient care pathways through our well-developed Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program, a collaborative, multidisciplinary initiative between the departments of anesthesiology and surgery to improve the care of patients at UNC.
We strive every day and night to provide each of our patients the highest quality, comfortable and, most importantly, safe procedure experience possible. It is our anesthesia team's pleasure to care for you and your loved ones.
Your Care Team
The anesthesia care team always consists of an attending anesthesiologist and often a care team including either a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or an anesthesia resident physician who will take care of you during your surgical procedure. An anesthesiologist is a physician who has completely finished medical training, as well as specialty training in anesthesiology, and makes all final decisions about your anesthesia care. Your anesthesia care team may change during your surgery because of shift changes or for other reasons, but be assured that you will never be left alone while under the effects of anesthesia. A member of our expert team will be with you at all times during your procedure.
In some cases, your surgery team may decide that you will benefit from the involvement of our anesthesiology teams specializing in acute pain, chronic pain or regional anesthesiology. These teams aim to improve your recovery experience by managing pain after surgery through a range of enhanced treatment options, such as epidurals, nerve blocks and pain regimen consultation. These anesthesiology teams closely collaborate with your surgeons and nurses to make sure you have the best possible experience.
What to Expect
We ask that you follow these guidelines the night before and day of your surgery. Prior to your procedure, you may be sent to our PreCare Clinic for your thorough preoperative preparation. When you arrive at the UNC Medical Center PreCare clinic, our friendly staff of nurses, nurse practitioners, anesthesia residents and anesthesiologists will check you in and guide you through a preoperative screening questionnaire. This will help the staff get more information about you and help choose the best anesthetic plan to fit your needs. In addition, we may obtain anesthesia consent, and depending on the type of surgery, perform additional preoperative screening. Please remember to bring an updated list of medications you are taking. If you have had difficulty with previous anesthetics or have medical conditions that may adversely affect anesthesia, our goal is to address these issue while reviewing your medical records in detail. Any relevant information that you can bring will make this process easier and quicker.
This is what you can expect on the day of your procedure:
- Many different people will interview you before you actually go into the operating room. These include pre-procedural nurses, as well as members of the surgery and anesthesia teams.
- Each person may ask you the same or similar questions. While this may appear redundant, it is for your safety and part of a system to confirm important information at multiple levels. It is much less likely that incorrect information will be obtained this way.
- Remember to bring a list of all of your allergies and medications – including dosage information – with you when you come to the hospital.
- At the end of your procedure, you will be taken to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), where you will be carefully monitored.
Types of Anesthesia
Two most common types of anesthesia are: general anesthesia, which is when you are completely asleep, and sedation with varying degrees of awareness with the surgical site being numbed. Your anesthesiologist will discuss your options with you based on the type of procedure, your safety and comfort and any circumstances unique to your situation. Sometimes your plans may be altered for your safety, and your anesthesiologist will discuss these possibilities with you.