Anesthesiologists are physicians who have specialized training to provide pain control, pain relief and general care for the patient while in the operating room. They are able to regulate changes in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and other vital signs that are important to your well being while undergoing surgery. The anesthesiologist acts as the advocate for the patient when the patient is under anesthesia. Anesthesiologists have completed college, four years of medical school, a medical or surgical internship and 3 years of anesthesiology residency.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist?
A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is an advanced practice nurse who has completed a Masters or Doctorate degree with a specialized focus in anesthesia. CRNAs stay with their patients for the entire procedure, providing hands-on care while constantly monitoring body function and modifying the anesthetic to ensure maximum safety and comfort. Nurse Anesthetists work in collaboration with anesthesiologists, surgeons, and medical professionals to deliver safe, top quality anesthesia for all types of surgical, medical and obstetrical procedures. Nurse Anesthetists must be certified by the National Board of CRNAs.
What are the risks of anesthesia?
Although all types of anesthesia involve some risk, it is extremely unusual for healthy patients to have serious complications from anesthesia. Your specific risks depend on your health, your age, the type of anesthesia used and your response to anesthesia. A number of health problems may also increase the risk of complications such as smoking, lung disease, heart disease, kidney failure, diabetes, and obesity. If you have any of these health problems, be sure to discuss them with your anesthesiologist and ask your anesthesiologist about any risks that may be associated with your anesthesia.
What type of anesthesia will be used?
The type of anesthesia you receive will depend on the type of surgery, your medical condition, and your surgeon’s preferences. Your anesthesiologist will discuss all options available to you and make a suggestion for the type(s) of anesthetic. There are three main types of anesthesia:
General Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia will render you unconscious. You will be unaware of what is happening, immobile, pain-free, and free from any memory of the period of time in which you are anesthetized. The length and level of anesthesia is calculated and constantly adjusted during the procedure. When the procedure is complete, the anesthesiologist will reverse the process and you will regain consciousness in the recovery room.
Regional Anesthesia: This kind of anesthesia gets it name because a “region” of the body is anesthetized without making you unconscious. Regional anesthesia can be used to block very specific areas, such as an arm, a leg, or a foot. You will not see or feel the actual surgery take place, because intravenous sedation is usually administered.
Local Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia causes you to lose sensation in a very specific area. The anesthetic drug is usually injected into an incision area to numb the tissue around a specific area of your body that requires only minor surgery. Occasionally, an anesthesia provider may be present to administer a mild sedative.
What about eating or drinking before surgery?
It is important that you follow the instructions you are given in regards to eating and drinking before surgery. While under anesthesia, you lose your protective reflexes such as coughing. In turn, you lose the ability to protect your lungs from inhaling liquids or solids from your stomach should they could come up into your mouth while under sedation. This could cause serious, life-threatening damage to your lungs. Your doctor’s office will give you instructions about fasting prior to your procedure.
Should I take my daily medication?
It is important to discuss this with your anesthesiologist because some drugs should be taken and others should not. Do not interrupt your medications unless your anesthesiologist or surgeon recommends it.
Will I be nauseated or vomit after surgery?
Certain surgical procedures are more likely to induce nausea and vomiting than others. Some individuals appear to be more susceptible to this problem, including those who experience motion sickness, and those who have previously had nausea or vomiting after anesthesia. When nausea and vomiting occurs, a variety of medications are available that can alleviate the symptoms.
Will I have a sore throat after surgery?
The insertion of the endotracheal tube can result in a sore throat after the surgery. Sometimes a sore throat will occur even without intubation. This is usually not a major problem, but some people find it annoying. A persistent or severe sore throat should be reported to your anesthesiologists or your surgeon.