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Egg retrieval – Narcosis performed by experienced anesthetists

Part 4 of the topic-series »Fertility treatment procedure«

by | Published on 4. February 2014, in Treatment.
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In order to provide couples undergoing IVF treatment with optimum treatment conditions, the specialists at the IVF Centers Prof. Zech in Bregenz are supported by a team of anesthetists – the Bodensee ANÄSTHESIE GbR. The medical specialists Michael Brandt, Erich Goldscheider and Andreas Franz are working on an outpatient basis, using the latest anesthesia techniques in various clinics and medical practices in the Lake Constance region. Apart from working with the highest quality standards, their main focus is always on people.

This will be of paramount importance, in particular shortly before oocyte retrieval (follicular puncture), a time which, for many patients, can be extremely nerve-racking and disturbing. In order to relieve the strain on the couple, at the IVF Centers Prof. Zech there is always a joint discussion with the patient, the treating doctor and the anesthetist about the details of the intervention under short-term anesthesia (sedoanalgesia).

Prior to anesthesia

The patient is required to fast prior to the scheduled procedure, i.e. she should not eat anything for at least six hours before the intervention. The patient is allowed to drink a maximum of one glass of water (without gas) or one cup of tea up until two hours before follicular aspiration. No milk, no alcohol etc. After clarifying the patient’s current medical findings, the hypnotic and analgesic (painkiller) based medications used for sedation can be dosed precisely. Factors to be taken into account include, for instance, the patient’s body height and weight as well as any possible allergies or heart problems etc.

Follicular puncture under short-term anesthesia

The physician may now administer the anesthetics. Before the patient is drifting off to sleep, the blood pressure is taken and blood oxygen saturation as well as heart rate are measured and constantly monitored during the intervention using a so-called pulse oximeter. The anesthetic recovery phase during which blood pressure is again checked is very short. The patient rapidly recovers from the after-effects of anesthesia and is then transferred from the operating room to the recovery room. By this time, many of the patients are already able to walk on their own again and dress themselves. Since this medicine may cause a short-term amnesia (memory loss), many patients experience problems to remember the procedure. Once the patient arrives in the recovery home, a medical assistant will immediately take care of the couple. While the woman is undergoing egg retrieval, the man is led to a small room in order to produce a semen specimen. Subsequently, they meet again in the recovery room.

After the intervention

After the intervention, the woman may experience a pulling sensation in the abdomen. The sensation of pain varies from person to person and may also depend on the patient’s physical state on that day. Normally, it is sufficient to take a common painkiller in order to relieve the pain. Bloody vaginal discharge is likely to occur after egg retrieval and may last for about two days. The patient must not be left alone within the first 24 hours after the puncture. She must not actively participate in road traffic. Due to the high risk of infection, the patient should not visit a sauna or swimming pool. In the following days, a condom should be used during sexual intercourse. Even though these cases are very rare, it might happen that the anesthesia medication is not well tolerated by the patient. This may result in nausea, vomiting, itching of the mucous membranes of the nose and circulation problems. Before leaving the clinic, the patient’s blood pressure is taken once more and the patient is asked how she feels. The couple must not leave the clinic before the results of sperm and egg collection are available. Only after the biologist has given them the green light, the couple can go home with their minds at ease and look forward to the embryo transfer.

Terms from anesthesia
  • anesthesia: narcosis
  • general anesthesia
  • regional anesthesia
  • sedoanalgesia: short-term anesthesia (sedative = calming; analgesia = elimination of pain)
  • analgesic: painkiller
  • hypnotic: sleep-inducing drug

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