Anesthesiology is the practice of medicine dedicated to the relief of pain and total care of the surgical patient before, during and after surgery.
As physicians, anesthesiologists are responsible for administering anesthesia to relieve pain and for managing vital life functions during surgery. After surgery, they maintain the patient in a comfortable state during the recovery, and are involved in the provision of critical care medicine in the intensive care unit.
Anesthesiologists’ responsibilities to patients include: Preanesthetic evaluation and treatment; Medical management of patients and their anesthetic procedures; Postanesthetic evaluation and treatment; On-site medical direction of any non-physician who assists in the technical aspects of anesthesia care to the patient.
The role of the anesthesiologist in the operating room is to: provide continual medical assessment of the patient; monitor and control the patient’s vital life functions — heart rate and rhythm, breathing, blood pressure, body temperature and body fluid balance; and control the patient’s pain and level of unconsciousness to make conditions ideal for a safe and successful surgery.
Anatheness During Surgery
In extremely rare cases, a patient can become conscious during surgery and subsequently recall what occurred. This experience, referred to as “intraoperative awareness,” or anesthesia awareness, is estimated to occur about 1 to 2 times per every 1,000 uses of general anesthesia. Most patients do not experience any pain due to intraoperative awareness, but it can be disturbing and some patients may need counseling following surgery to ease their anxiety.
Obesity and Anesthesia
Obese patients present additional challenges for anesthesiologists in a variety of ways. Read on to learn the importance of communicating completely with the anesthesia provider prior to surgery regarding other co-existing issues for the obese patient.
The complexity of transplant surgeries requires the expertise and specialty of a transplant anesthesiologist who is an integral part of the transplant team.
Does Anesthesia Affect My Child?
As an organization of 46,000 anesthesiologists, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) would like to offer parents the following information on the use of anesthesia and sedatives in children who need surgery.