Before the Scalpel: What Everyone Should Know About Anesthesia

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell's Dr. Panchali Dhar Demystifies Anesthesia in New Book

Feb 10, 2009


The decision has been made: You are going to have surgery. You've met with your surgeon. You have a good idea what will happen during the operation. But how much do you know about the anesthesia?

A new book by Dr. Panchali Dhar, an anesthesiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, called "Before the Scalpel: What Everyone Should Know About Anesthesia" (Tell Me Press) demystifies the process and terms associated with anesthesia and arranges the information in an easy-to-understand, topic-by-topic sourcebook.

The book explores such real-life topics as:

  • Pain-relief options during labor and delivery.
  • Facts to know before deciding on plastic and cosmetic surgery.
  • Why children are not just "small adults" when it comes to anesthesia.
  • How obesity adds risk to surgery and anesthesia.
  • The common fear of awareness during anesthesia.

"By the age of 50, most people have had at least three encounters with some form of anesthesia. Before you or a loved one undergoes another surgery or medical procedure, it's important to empower yourself and learn the basic questions to ask about anesthesia in order to ensure a safe and pain-free experience," says Dr. Dhar, who is an assistant professor of clinical anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Individual chapters in Dr. Dhar's book focus on how anesthesia is used in plastic and cosmetic surgery, during labor, and for dental care. Other chapters explore the special needs of babies and children, how surgeons and anesthesiologists have adapted their techniques in response to increased obesity rates, and how to avoid post-operative nausea and vomiting. Each chapter ends with an invaluable checklist, called "prescriptives," that highlights key points and provides space to take notes — something Dr. Dhar anticipates will be useful when the patient meets with a surgeon or anesthesia provider.

For more information, patients may call 866-NYP-NEWS.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, education, research and community service. Weill Cornell physician-scientists have been responsible for many medical advances — from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, the first indication of bone marrow's critical role in tumor growth, and, most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. NewYork-Presbyterian, which is ranked sixth on the U.S.News & World Report list of top hospitals, also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion. Weill Cornell Medical College is the first U.S. medical college to offer a medical degree overseas and maintains a strong global presence in Austria, Brazil, Haiti, Tanzania, Turkey and Qatar. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Lezlie Greenberg 212-821-0560