Anesthesia is administered under the direct supervision of a physician called an anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist will be responsible for regulating your anesthesia, monitoring your vital functions and taking care of your overall medical condition during surgery. The anesthesiologist often works on an anesthesia team with a specially trained nurse called a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist) who is skilled in the technical aspects of anesthesia care. The CRNA is under the direct supervision of the anesthesiologist during your entire surgery. You will meet your anesthesiologist and CRNA before surgery at which time the anesthesiologist will do a preanesthetic evaluation and discuss anesthetic options available to you.
The three different types of anesthesia which may be considered depending on your surgical procedure include local, regional and general anesthesia.
- Local anesthesia blocks feelings of pain at the site where surgery is performed. It numbs only a small part of your body and generally has a short-term effect. Additionally, a sedative may be administered to make you calm or even sleepy during the surgery.
- Regional anesthesia blocks pain in a larger portion of the body by injecting local anesthesia near a cluster of nerves. Examples include a spinal anesthetic or a brachial plexus block. A spinal anesthetic will block pain in the lower body. A brachial plexus injection will block pain to the selected arm. In addition, a sedative may be administered to make you calm or even sleepy during the surgery.
- General anesthesia produces a state of unconsciousness in patients. You will have no awareness or sensations during the surgery. It can be used in all types of surgeries, both major and minor.
Anesthesiologists works with the entire surgical team to provide the safest possible pain relief for patients and the best operating conditions for surgeons. You will receive specific instructions from the anesthesia team prior to the day of surgery in order to optimize your medical care. You will be instructed on how long you must not eat or drink prior to surgery. If you take daily medications, you will also be advised on which medications to take prior to surgery. As you prepare for surgery, be sure to ask your surgeon or anesthesiologist any questions you may have about the anesthesia.
The Department of Anesthesiology mission is to provide safe, high quality and compassionate care to our surgical, procedural and pain patients.
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