Conscious sedation

What is conscious sedation?                                  
Conscious sedation is the primary method of sedation used at PainCare for spinal injections and implants. It is a technique whereby medications such as propofol and/or versed are safely injected through an IV (intravenous) site which produces a very relaxed state that will allow you to better tolerate any discomfort during the procedure. You are often very sleepy, able to speak and respond appropriately to questions though you may slur your words a bit. There is usually a short period of amnesia which reduces or eliminates memory of the procedure itself, and of conversation carried on during the process.

Who may give conscious sedation?
At PainCare, physicians, certified registered anesthetists, physician assistants and nurses may administer medication used for conscious sedation. All staff are licensed in the state of New Hampshire and have passed an Advanced Cardiac Life Support class taught by the American Heart Association for critical care healthcare personnel. All equipment for safe monitoring and reversal of the medication, if necessary, or the specific nature/complexity/length of the procedure are easily available to the trained staff.

Why have conscious sedation?
If a patient finds that s/he is very nervous about a particular procedure, and is concerned about being relaxed and reletively still throughout, the patient may consider this alternative.

What should you expect?
You should expect to have an intravenous placed usually in a hand or arm. After you are positioned for the procedure, staff will administer medication painlessly through the intravenous line. Do not expect to go completely to sleep; you will still be able to respond. There are times the healthcare provider needs to obtain information from you during the procedure, so it is not desirable to “put you completely out.” However, you may well forget everything about the procedure due to the relaxing amnesiac effects of the sedation.

What are the patient’s responsibilities?
You MUST have a driver and you may NOT have anything to eat or drink 4 hours prior to the scheduled procedure. This includes gum, mints, or any hard candy. The reason is to avoid reflux and possible inhaling of stomach contents while sedated. This does not happen often, but the consequences can be serious. If you do not have a driver, or have had food or liquids within those 4 hours, you will NOT be able to receive conscious sedation. However, you may take your regularly scheduled medications with sips of clear fluids within the 4 hour limit.

You should not drive or operate heavy machinery and you may wish to delay important decisions for about 12 hours following sedation. You may expect to remain with us at least 30-45 minutes, after the procedure is completed. If it is more convenient for you, your driver may leave and we will be happy to call that person when you are ready for discharge.

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