For Patients

Role of the Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists are medical doctors just like your primary care physician and surgeon. They specialize in anesthesia care, pain management, and critical care medicine, and have the necessary knowledge to understand and treat the entire human body. Anesthesiologists have 12 to 14 years of education, including medical school, and 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training.

Anesthesiologists evaluate, monitor, and supervise patient care before, during, and after surgery, delivering anesthesia, leading the Anesthesia Care Team, and ensuring optimal patient safety.

  • Before Surgery – In the days or weeks before your surgery, your anesthesiologist will be sure you are fit for surgery and prepare you for the procedure by asking detailed questions about your health, examining you, and reviewing tests. Your anesthesiologist will answer your questions about the surgery and anesthesia. Be sure to let your anesthesiologist know about any medical problems you have, such as heart disease, diabetes, or asthma; what medications you are taking (prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal supplements); and whether you’ve had problems or concerns with anesthesia in the past. Use this time to ask questions. Understanding your care will make you feel more comfortable and confident as you prepare for surgery. Your anesthesiologist will create an anesthesia plan developed specifically for you to ensure a safe and successful procedure.
  • During Surgery – The anesthesiologist manages your pain control and closely monitors your anesthesia and vital body functions during the procedure, working alone or with an Anesthesia Care Team. Your anesthesiologist will manage medical problems if they occur during surgery, as well as any chronic conditions you have such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
  • After Surgery – In the recovery room, the anesthesiologist supervises others who will care for you and monitor your recovery — your breathing, circulation, consciousness, and level of oxygen — and is immediately available if there are questions or concerns. The anesthesiologist typically is the person who decides when you have recovered from the effects of anesthesia and are ready to go home or be moved to a regular room in the hospital or the intensive care unit. The anesthesiologist also creates a plan for your recovery and may be involved in pain management after you go home.

Preparing for Surgery

Know how to prepare. Whether you’re having surgery or a procedure in a hospital, outpatient surgery center, or even a doctor’s office, you likely will receive anesthesia to make you comfortable and pain-free. Learn what to do, ask and expect so you can have a safe, successful, and comfortable procedure and an easier recovery.

Understand how certain health factors, conditions or habits such as age, smoking, obesity and sleep apnea may increase the chance for complications. Read More

Learn the essential steps to take and the critical questions to ask your anesthesiologist before a surgery or procedure for your or your child. Read More

Stay safe and gain peace of mind by knowing what to expect after anesthesia and how an anesthesiologist can help you feel better during recovery. Read More

Learn more about c-sections, knee, back, heart, brain and eye surgeries and outpatient procedures including special considerations for anesthesia and post-surgical pain relief. Read More

Pain Management

Pain can be debilitating and frustrating. It may interfere with sleep, work, activities, and quality time with friends and family. Pain management provides relief so you can enjoy life. But treatment is complex and can lead to harmful effects if not properly administered and monitored. That’s why pain management may require the involvement of an anesthesiologist, a medical doctor who specializes in pain medicine. Learn about their services, including the types of pain they treat — and how. More info

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