Most patients are nervous about the anesthtic they will get for surgery. We use the safest anesthesia techniques, and have a remarkably safe record with extremely low complication rates. ( See Link to Orthopedic care on HealthGrades.com for Scottsdale Osborn hospital). We try to use REGIONAL anesthesia when ever possible. This is also called spinal, or epidural anesthesia. In every study, regional anesthesia is safer over many thousands of patient encounters than general anesthesia. While general anesthesia is also safe ( you are asleep with a breathing tube in place connected to a machine that breathes for you), every once in a while ( approx one out of 1000), there can be serious problems related to maintaining an airway. This is why we try to use regional anesthesia, as the patient remains “semi-conscious” and breathing on their own throughout the procedure.
Femoral Nerve Block anesthesia ( pain management supplement): the anesthesiologist will put a needle into your anterior thigh area to block the femoral nerve ( much like the dentist does to block the mandibular nerve in the jaw before drilling on a tooth!) . He will use lidocaine, marcaine, or ropivacaine (longer lasting) to coat the femoral nerve, which lasts up to 24 hours, giving very effective pain relief to the anterior aspect of the knee ( where the incision is and where most of the work is done!). There is still some pain in the posterior aspect of the knee, but this is a good thing, as it allows you to walk without your leg collapsing an hour after surgery or as soon as the spinal wears off. For more info on total knees check out the AAOS website at : www.orthoinfo.org
We do place a tourniquet on your thigh during surgery. Sometimes there is some muscle pain or bruising in the thigh from the tourniquet for a short period after surgery.
Read more info an Anesthesia for Joint Replacement at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Website. www.aaos.org Brian Williams from NBC news is having a total knee. Watch his video on Total Knee Replacement Link to Nightly News