An Important Part of Your Care Team

Our physicians have been recruited over the years for their excellence and experience derived from some of the best medical institutions across the country. This allows us to offer comprehensive anesthesia services throughout the health system. Each anesthesiologist has completed an extensive anesthesiology residency program, some have completed advanced fellowship training and all are either board certified or board eligible by the American Board of Anesthesiology.

We deliver comprehensive patient care while continually exploring quality improvement and remaining innovative in strategies to enhance perioperative healthcare delivery.

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What You Should Know

As you get ready to have surgery or a procedure you will meet a key member of the team providing your care — your physician anesthesiologist. You may know that this doctor will monitor your anesthesia during surgery, but you might not realize the essential position this medical specialist has before, during and after your procedure to keep you safe and comfortable.

Physician anesthesiologists are generally in charge of providing the following types of anesthesia care:

Regional anesthesia — Pain medication to numb a large part of the body, such as the area below the waist, is given through an injection or a small tube called a catheter. You will be awake, but unable to feel the area that is numbed. This type of anesthesia, including spinal blocks and epidurals, often is used for childbirth and for surgeries of the arm, leg or abdomen. Possible side effects are headache, minor back pain and bleeding beneath the skin where the anesthesia was injected. Rarely, a needle entered near the lung can cause the lung to collapse, or nerves can be damaged.

Monitored anesthesia care or intravenous (IV) sedation — The physician anesthesiologist will provide medication that will relax you through an IV placed in a vein. Depending on the procedure, the level of sedation may range from minimal – making you drowsy but able to talk – to deep, meaning you probably won’t remember the procedure. This type of anesthesia often is used for minimally invasive procedures such as colonoscopies. IV sedation is sometimes combined with local (numbing a small area) or regional anesthesia. Possible side effects include headache, nausea and drowsiness.

General anesthesia — This type of anesthesia is provided through an anesthesia mask or IV and makes you lose consciousness. It is usually used for major operations, such as knee replacement or open heart surgery. Side effects may include nausea and vomiting, sore throat, muscle aches and chills and shivering. More serious complications can include confusion that can last for a few days after surgery, and problems concentrating and thinking.

The type of anesthesia you receive will depend on a variety of factors, including the procedure you’re having, your health and in some cases, your preference. To ensure the highest quality and safest care, talk to your physician to be sure your anesthesia care is led by a physician anesthesiologist.

How Anesthesiologists Care for You During Surgery

Before surgery — In the days or weeks before your surgery, your physician 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 physician anesthesiologist will answer your questions about the surgery and anesthesia. Be sure to let your physician 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 while having 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 physician anesthesiologist will create an anesthesia plan specifically developed for you to ensure a safe and successful procedure.

During surgery — The physician 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 physician 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 physician anesthesiologist supervises the nurse and others who care for you and monitor your recovery – including your breathing, circulation, consciousness and level of oxygen – and is immediately available if there are questions or concerns.

The physician anesthesiologist typically is the person to decide when you are recovered from the effects of anesthesia and ready to go home or be moved to a regular room in the hospital or the intensive care unit. The physician anesthesiologist also creates a plan for your recovery and may be involved in pain management after you go home.

(Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists)