Penn Medicine's Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care provides the highest quality anesthesia services to patients undergoing procedures on the lungs, airways, chest and esophagus. We work very closely with our thoracic surgeons to ensure a safe, comfortable operation and recovery for the more than 700 patients who we care for each year.

Before Your Operation

If you have special questions for an anesthesiologist or you have a medical condition that may affect your anesthetic, your surgeon may make an appointment for you to see an anesthesiologist. Typically, one of the thoracic nurse practitioners will contact the thoracic anesthesiologists. We will then contact you to discuss your specific question or concern.

We meet with all of our patients prior to their arrival in the operating room. We thoroughly review your medical history, allergies, surgical plan, and the plan for the treatment of your postoperative pain. We will then obtain a formal signed consent for the planned anesthetic.

During and After Your Operation

We are very committed to your comfort after the operation. Not only is your comfort important, but you also have to be without pain enough to cough and breathe deeply to prevent postoperative lung infection.

An epidural is the most profound pain relief available. For many patients having lung and esophageal surgery, we very strongly recommend an epidural for postoperative pain relief. The epidural is a necessity for some patients, such as those with a smoking history.

For patients undergoing lung and esophageal surgery, we often employ an arterial catheter. This is a small catheter that is placed into an artery in the wrist and allows us to monitor blood pressure with every beat of the heart.

Every patient has an individualized recovery plan. Yours will be developed by our specialists considering your health, operation, age and medical conditions. As anesthesiologists, we will be involved in your care and treating your pain if you have an epidural catheter. The Acute Pain Team will see you every morning that you have an epidural in place. They will ensure your comfort and your smooth transition to home medications.

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