Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Anesthesia and Your Anesthesiologist

Types of Anesthesia and Your Anesthesiologist

Types of anesthesia:

During surgery, you will be given some form of anesthesia--medication administered for the relief of pain and sensation during surgery. The type and dosage of anesthesia is administered by the anesthesiologist. When a patient faces surgery, he or she will meet with the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist before the procedure. The anesthesiologist will review the patient's medical condition and history to plan the appropriate anesthetic for surgery.

There are various forms of anesthesia. The type of anesthesia you will receive will depend on the type of surgery and your medical condition. Usually, an anesthesiologist will administer a sedative in addition to the anesthetic. The different types of anesthesia include the following:

About your anesthesiologist:

Anesthesiologists are the physicians trained to administer and manage anesthesia given during a surgical procedure. They are also responsible for managing and treating changes in your critical life functions - breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure - as they are affected by the surgery being performed. Further, they immediately diagnose and treat any medical problems that might arise during and immediately after surgery.

Prior to surgery, the anesthesiologist will evaluate the patient's medical condition and formulate an anesthetic plan which takes that patient's physical condition into account. It is vital that the anesthesiologist knows as much about your medical history, lifestyle, and medications as possible. Some particularly important information he/she needs to know includes the following:

Meeting the anesthesiologist before the surgery:

Because anesthesia and surgery affect every system in the body, the anesthesiologist will conduct a preoperative interview. Sometimes this is done in person; in other cases, the anesthesiologist will interview you over the telephone. During this interview, the anesthesiologist will review your medical history, as well as discuss the information mentioned above. He or she will also inform you about what to expect during your surgery and discuss anesthetic choices with you.

If you have not personally met during the preoperative interview, the anesthesiologist will meet with you immediately before your surgery to review your entire medical history as well as results of any medical tests previously conducted. By this time, he or she will have a clear understanding of your anesthetic needs.

How are pre-existing medical conditions handled during surgery?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes, asthma, heart problems, arthritis, etc., your anesthesiologist will have been alerted to this and will be well prepared to treat these conditions during your surgery, as well as immediately afterward. Anesthesiologists are trained to handle sudden medical problems related to the surgery, as well as any chronic conditions that may need attention during the procedure.

How is the patient's condition monitored during surgery?

Monitoring is one of the most important roles the anesthesiologist handles during surgery. Second-by-second observation of even the slightest changes in a wide range of body functions gives the anesthesiologist a tremendous amount of information about the patient's well-being. In addition to directing your anesthesia, the anesthesiologist will manage vital functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, heart rhythm, body temperature, and breathing. He or she will also be responsible for fluid and blood replacement, when necessary. Sophisticated technology is used to monitor every organ system and its functioning during surgery.

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Online Resources of Surgical Care

 

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