anesthesiologists are physicians who complete a four-year
college program, four years of graduate doctoral training
and four more years of anesthesiology residency. They
apply their knowledge of medicine to fulfill their
primary role in the operating room, which is not only
to ensure your comfort during surgery, but also to
make informed medical judgments to protect you. These
include treating and regulating changes in your critical
life functions -- breathing, heart rate, blood pressure
-- as they are affected by the surgery being performed.
These medical specialists are the doctors who will
immediately diagnose and treat any medical problems
that might arise during your surgery or recovery period.
The role of an anesthesiologist extends beyond the
operating room and recovery room. Anesthesiologists
work in intensive care units to help restore critically
ill patients to stable condition. In childbirth, anesthesiologists
manage the care of two persons: they provide pain
relief for the mother while managing the life functions
of both the mother and the baby. Anesthesiologists
are also involved in pain management, including diagnosis
and treatment of acute and chronic problems.
are nurse anesthetists?
Nurse anesthetists are registered nurses that are
experienced in critical care with a focused anesthesia
training and a degree in Nurse Anesthesia. They have
successfully passed a rigorous national exam and are
fully certified. CRNA's administer/deliver anesthetic
drugs, monitor all vital signs and regulate the anesthesia
equipment used during each surgery. They are personally
supervised by the Anesthesiologist.
I choose my anesthesiologist?
usually have a choice as to who your anesthesiologist
will be. You may select one based on a personal recommendation
or based on your own previous experience. However,
you must make that choice known in advance so that
arrangements may be made to honor your request. Since
your anesthesiologist is responsible for your comfort,
safety and medical care during surgery, it is important
that you meet before entering the operating room.
is there a preoperative interview?
and surgery affect your entire system, so it is important
for your anesthesiologist to know as much about you
as possible. During a preoperative visit, an anesthesiologist
will carefully evaluate you and your medical history
and will inquire about your recent medications. In
addition, this physician will inform you about the
procedures associated with your surgery, discuss the
anesthetic choices, their risks and benefits, order
appropriate laboratory tests and prescribe medication
for you, if needed, before your operation. If you
have not met your anesthesiologist during a preoperative
interview, you will meet immediately before your surgery.
At this time, your anesthesiologist will review your
entire medical chart for a clear understanding of
your needs and medical condition.
are the types of anesthesia?
are three main categories of anesthesia: general,
regional and local. With general anesthesia, you are
unconscious and have no awareness of the surgical
procedure or other sensations. If you have regional
anesthesia, your anesthesiologist injects medication
near a cluster of nerves to numb only the area of
your body that requires surgery. You may remain awake
or you may be given a sedative. For some surgical
procedures, a local anesthetic may be injected into
the skin and tissues to numb a specific location.
Your anesthesiologist, in consultation with your surgeon,
will determine the best type of anesthesia for you,
taking your desires into consideration whenever possible.
These options will be discussed during your preoperative
interview with the anesthesiologist.
the surgery, what does my anesthesiologist do?
anesthesiologist is personally responsible for your
comfort and well-being before, during and after your
surgical procedure. In the operating room, the anesthesiologist
will direct your anesthesia and manage vital functions,
including heart rate, blood pressure, heart rhythm,
body temperature and breathing. The anesthesiologist
also is responsible for fluid and blood replacement,
when necessary. He or she will regulate the anesthesia
so that you will be comfortable until your anesthetic
care is completed.
people requiring surgery may have other medical conditions,
such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, arthritis
or heart problems. Because of your preoperative evaluation,
your anesthesiologist will be alert to these conditions
and well-prepared to treat them during your surgery
and immediately afterward. Your continued medical
management during surgery is necessary to help you
have a speedy recovery. As doctors, anesthesiologists
are uniquely qualified to treat not only sudden medical
problems related to surgery itself, but also your
chronic conditions that may need special attention
during your procedure. This is because their medical
training provides a strong background in the principles
of internal medicine and critical care.
surgery, what can I expect?
anesthesiologist continues to be responsible for your
care in the recovery room, often called the postanesthesia
care unit. Here, the anesthesiologist directs specially
trained staff members who monitor your condition and
vital signs as the effects of the anesthesia wear
off. Your anesthesiologist will determine when you
are able to leave the recovery room.
I receive a separate bill from the anesthesiologist?
anesthesiologist is a physician specialist like your
surgeon or internist, and you probably will receive
a bill for your anesthesiologist's professional service
as you would from your other physicians. If you have
any financial concerns, your anesthesiologist or an
office staff member will answer your questions. You
will note that your hospital charges separately for
the medications and equipment used for your anesthetic.