Role of the Physician Anesthesiologist
If you’re preparing for surgery, you’ve probably given a lot of thought to the education, training and experience of the surgeon performing the procedure. But you may not have thought much about the physician anesthesiologist or the importance of his or her medical expertise in your procedure — before, during and after — to keep you safe and comfortable.
Physician anesthesiologists meet with you and your surgeon before surgery to assess your health and make decisions to ensure your anesthesia care is as safe and effective as possible. They monitor your vital signs during surgery, including how well your heart and lungs are working while you’re unconscious, and they take care of you after surgery to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible while you recover.
Physician anesthesiologists also play a key role in taking care of patients who are having minor surgery or who may not require general anesthesia, such as women in labor who need to be awake and alert but require effective pain management. They also help patients who have serious pain from an injury, or chronic or recurring pain such as migraines or ongoing back problems.
What is a physician anesthesiologist?
Physician anesthesiologists are medical doctors just like your primary care physician and surgeon. They specialize in anesthesia care, pain management and critical care medicine, and have the necessary knowledge to understand and treat the entire human body. Physician anesthesiologists have 12 to 14 years of education, including medical school, and 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training.
Physician anesthesiologists evaluate, monitor and supervise patient care before, during and after surgery, delivering anesthesia, leading the Anesthesia Care Team and ensuring optimal patient safety.
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