NEW YORK — Is your anesthesiologist a doctor? Did you know that a medi-spa may be hazardous to your health? Is it true that your weight can affect the type of anesthesia you receive? Most women do not know the answers to these important questions, says Dr. Panchali Dhar, an anesthesiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Dr. Dhar, author of the new book “Before the Scalpel: What Everyone Should Know About Anesthesia” (Tell Me Press), says, “Before you or a loved one undergoes another surgery or medical procedure, it’s important to empower yourself and learn the basic questions to ask about anesthesia in order to ensure a safe and pain-free experience.”
Her book offers readers a comprehensive consumer guide to a successful anesthesia experience and includes a variety of topics that are of specific interest to women. Individual chapters in Dr. Dhar’s book focus on how anesthesia is used in plastic and cosmetic surgery, and during labor.
Other chapters explore the special needs of babies and children, how surgeons and anesthesiologists have adapted their techniques in response to increased obesity rates, and how to avoid postoperative nausea and vomiting.
“By the age of 50, most people have had at least three encounters with some form of anesthesia. This number is even larger for women. More than 50 percent of women receive an epidural during childbirth and 91 percent of all cosmetic surgeries and procedures are performed on women,” says Dr. Dhar.
Each chapter ends with an empowering checklist, called “prescriptives,” that highlights key points and questions that patients should ask when they meet with a surgeon or anesthesia provider.
The book explores such real-life topics as:
- Pain-relief options during labor and delivery. Keep a log of body changes during pregnancy, including weight gain, ease of breathing, and the appearance of back pain.
- Choosing the right medi-spa. Exercise caution when visiting medi-spas. These trendy facilities are not regulated so it is up to you to ensure that a certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon is on-site to monitor any laser or light-based treatments and pharmaceutical injections.
- Facts to know before deciding on plastic and cosmetic surgery. Pre-existing health conditions can interfere with anesthesia and recovery. Get a complete medical check-up before any procedure.
- Why children are not just “small adults” when it comes to anesthesia. Children have major physical and developmental differences that change over months and years and have a real impact on the type of equipment, monitoring and drug dosing that an anesthesiologist will choose.
- How obesity adds risk to surgery and anesthesia. Anesthesiologists take extra care when finding veins, monitoring breathing and administrating regional anesthesia to obese patients. If you have gained a large amount of weight since your last surgery you should let your anesthesiologist know.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, education, research and community service. Weill Cornell physician-scientists have been responsible for many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer; the synthesis of penicillin; the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S.; the first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease; the first indication of bone marrow’s critical role in tumor growth; and, most recently, the world’s first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. Weill Cornell Medical College is the first U.S. medical college to offer a medical degree overseas and maintains a strong global presence in Austria, Brazil, Haiti, Tanzania, Turkey and Qatar. For more information, visit www.nyp.org and www.med.cornell.edu.