Before your surgery, you will meet your anesthesia provider. A vital member of the surgical team, your anesthesia provider, has the critical responsibility for your welfare when you undergo anesthesia. The anesthesia provider is your advocate in the operating room.
Who are Anesthesiologists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists?
Today's anesthesiologists are physicians who generally complete a four-year college program, four years of graduate doctoral training and four additional years of internship and anesthesiology residency. They apply their knowledge of medicine to fulfill their primary role in the operating room, which is not only to ensure your comfort during surgery, but also to make informed medical judgments to protect you. These include treating and regulating changes in your critical life functions--breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure--as they are affected by the surgery being performed. These medical specialists will evaluate and treat any medical problems that might develop during your surgery.
In addition to our team of highly skilled, experienced physicians, RAA's Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are licensed professional nurses (RNs). Nurses begin their extensive two to three year CRNA education with a minimum of a BSN or another appropriate Bachelor’s degree. Nurses must complete a Master’s degree thereby becoming Advanced Practice Nurses who specialize in anesthesia care. CRNAs are also highly skilled in critical care nursing and become nationally certified by exam after graduation. CRNAs work with anesthesiologists to provide excellence in patient care and in the administering of anesthesia.
The role of an anesthesia provider extends beyond the operating room and recovery room. Anesthesiologists work in intensive care units to help restore critically ill patients to stable conditions.
Anesthesiologists also are involved in pain management, including diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic problems. For more information on pain management, please visit our website www.medicalpain.com.
May I Choose My Anesthesia Provider?
You usually have a choice as to who your anesthesia provider will be. Your surgeon may refer you to a specific anesthesia provider or you may select one based on a personal recommendation or based on your own previous experience. However, you must make that choice known in advance so that arrangements may be made to honor your request. Since your anesthesia provider is responsible for your comfort, safety and medical care during surgery, it is important that you meet before entering the operating room.
Why Is There A Preoperative Interview?
Anesthesia and surgery affect your entire system, so it is important for your anesthesiologist to know as much about you as possible. During a preoperative visit, an anesthesia provider will carefully evaluate you and your medical history and will inquire about your recent medications as well as your non-prescription medications or your over-the-counter supplements. In addition, this physician will inform you about the procedures associated with your surgery, discuss the anesthetic choices, their risks and benefits, order appropriate laboratory tests and prescribe medication for you, if needed, before your operation. If you have had any problems or difficulties with anesthesia procedures, make your anesthesia provider aware of the circumstances. Please tell your anesthesia provider of any dental conditions and/or dental appliances before surgery. If you have not met your anesthesiologist during a preoperative interview, you will meet immediately before your surgery. At this time, your anesthesiologist will review your entire medical chart for a clear understanding of your needs and medical condition.
The Day Of Surgery
It is extremely important that all directions are followed regarding which medications can or should be the taken before your surgical procedure as well as the fasting (NPO) instructions. Be sure that you arrive, on time, at your scheduled time.
What Are The Types Of Anesthesia?
There are three main categories of anesthesia: general, regional and local or monitored anesthesia care (MAC). With general anesthesia, you are unconscious and have no awareness of the surgical procedure or other sensations. If you have regional anesthesia, your anesthesiologist injects medication near a cluster of nerves to numb only the area of your body that requires surgery. For some surgical procedures, a local anesthetic may be injected into the skin and tissues to numb a specific location. Your anesthesiologists, in consultation with your surgeon, will determine the safest type of anesthesia for you, taking your desires into consideration. These options will be discussed during your preoperative interview with the anesthesia provider. Please click on the link for the American Society of Anesthesiologists for information on Patient Awareness under General Anesthesia.
During The Surgery, What Does My Anesthesiologist Do?
Your anesthesiologist is personally responsible for your comfort and well being before, during and after your surgical procedure. In the operating room, the anesthesia provider will direct your anesthesia and manage vital functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, heart rhythm, body temperature and breathing. The anesthesia provider is also responsible for fluid and blood replacement, when necessary. He or she will regulate the anesthesia so that you will be comfortable until your anesthetic care is completed.
Frequently, people requiring surgery may have other medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, arthritis or heart problems. Because of your preoperative evaluation, your anesthesiologist will be alert to these conditions and well prepared to treat them during your surgery and immediately afterward. Your continued medical management during surgery is necessary to help you have a speedy recovery. As doctors, anesthesiologists are uniquely qualified to treat not only sudden medical problems related to surgery itself, but also your chronic conditions that may need special attention during your procedure. This is because their medical training provided a strong background in the principles of internal medicine and critical care.
After Surgery, What Can I Expect?
Your anesthesiologist continues to be responsible for your care in the recovery room, often called the post anesthesia care unit. Here, the anesthesiologist directs specially trained staff members who monitor your condition and vital signs as the effects of the anesthesia wear off. Your anesthesiologist will determine when you are able to leave the recovery room.
Will I Receive A Separate Bill From The Anesthesiologist?
Your anesthesiologist is a physician specialist like your surgeon or internist, and you will be billed for your anesthesiologist's professional service, as you would from your other physicians. Anesthesia billing is provided by Tenzing. If you have any financial concerns, your anesthesiologist or an office staff member will answer your questions. Please note that your hospital charges separately for the medications and equipment used.
Many people are apprehensive about surgery or anesthesia. If you are well informed and know what to expect, you will be better prepared and more relaxed. Talk with your anesthesiologist. Ask questions. Discuss any concerns you might have about your planned anesthetic care. Your anesthesiologist is not only your advocate but also the physician uniquely qualified and experienced to make your surgery and recovery as safe and comfortable as possible.
Information adapted from the American Society of Anesthesiologists.