Chapter 13: What to Expect During Strabismus (Eye Muscle) Surgery
A Patient & Parent Guide to Strabismus Surgery
George R. Beauchamp, M.D.
Most hospitals or surgical facilities will ask you to arrive one to three hours before surgery. Although details and timing will vary, the purpose of this time is to perform administrative check-in procedures, acclimate and educate you or your child to and about the facility and procedure, and perform a check of vital signs such as height, weight, blood pressure, temperature and blood oxygen (with a monitor on a finger). Some of these aspects may be completed on a day before the surgery. All necessary paper work, including medical record documentation and review of informed consent forms will be organized and completed as necessary.
Your anesthesiologist and the operating room nurse will visit with you prior to going to surgery. Children, although often not infants, generally receive a premedication such as Versed, whose purpose is to relieve anxiety, calm them, decrease separation anxiety from family, and reduce unpleasant memories of the experience. This medicine may be given either as an oral liquid or nasal spray. Adults may have an IV started and receive premedication via this route.
Several people will be in the operating room, including anesthesia, nursing, and surgical staff. The anesthesiologist/ anesthetist, circulating nurse, surgical scrub nurse/technician and surgeon will be in constant attendance. Additional personnel may include and assistant surgeon or surgical assistant of your and your surgeon’s choosing. In other specified circumstances, personnel in training, such as residents and fellows may be present.
Induction of Anesthesia
In the operating room, anesthetic gases are generally administered to children through a (scented) mask. After the children are asleep, a breathing tube is placed in the throat, either in or over the laryngeal opening to the lungs. By this means, breathing can be monitored and, as necessary, controlled throughout the procedure. IV’s are placed in children after they are asleep. In adults with IV’s in place, anesthetic agents may be administered as oxygen is breathed by mask. After asleep, a breathing tube is placed as above.
There will be continuous monitoring of key functions during surgery, under constant observation of anesthesia staff. These functions include breathing and respiratory functions, blood oxygen, temperature, blood pressure, and heart beats (EKG). Most strabismus surgery lasts less than one hour.
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