For patients

What is Anesthesia?

The Anaesthesia Care Team

If you’re planning to have surgery, you probably know that your surgeon is not the only person who will be taking care of you. An entire team of physicians, nurses and other medical professionals will be working together to make sure your surgery and recovery are safe and successful.

One of the key members of that medical team is the physician anesthesiologist. This physician often leads the Anesthesia Care Team, which might include  anesthesiologist assistants and anesthesiology resident who will guide you throughout your entire surgical experience — before, during and after the procedure.

What happens with the Anesthesia Care Team before surgery?

Sometime before your surgery, especially if you are having general anesthesia that causes you to lose consciousness, you will meet with your physician anesthesiologist to discuss your anesthesia care. You will be asked about your medical history, health habits and lifestyle, so that the physician anesthesiologist can work with other members of the Anesthesia Care Team to develop an anesthesia plan that’s safe and effective for you. For example, you may have certain medical conditions or take certain medications that will affect how you react to the anesthesia and the surgery. The Anesthesia Care Team will use this information as it determines the right type and dosage of anesthesia, and whether certain side effects or complications may be more likely.

Anesthesia Surgery

An entire team of physicians, nurses and other medical professionals will be working together to make sure your surgery and recovery are safe and successful.

The day of your surgery, the anesthesiologist and other members of the Anesthesia Care Team will meet with you to review your medical information and tell you what to expect from your surgery and recovery. After they’ve answered your questions, and you’ve answered theirs, you may be given medication to relax. The anesthesiologist will then administer your anesthesia for the surgery.

What does the Anesthesia Care Team do during surgery?

While your surgeon is performing your procedure, your Anesthesia Care Team will be taking care of you. You will be monitored carefully throughout the surgery to make sure your breathing, heart rate and other systems are normal and steady. The anesthesiologist supervises the monitoring and is always readily available in case you experience any complications while under anesthesia.

Anesthesia Surgery

What happens after surgery?

After your surgery, the anesthesiologist will reverse the anesthesia medications and wake you up. You may experience some side effects from the anesthesia, such as nausea, chills or vomiting, and the Anesthesia Care Team will assess how you feel and give you medications to make you feel better. You also will be asked to describe your pain. In addition to keeping you safe and comfortable during surgery, anesthesiologists are specialists in controlling all types of pain, including post-surgical pain. The Anesthesia Care Team will develop a pain management plan to help you feel comfortable as you recover in the hospital and after you return home.

What else does the Anesthesia Care Team do?

The Anesthesia Care Team also takes care of patients who are not having major surgery requiring general anesthesia. For example, if you’re having a baby, the team will meet with you and the doctor who will be delivering the baby to discuss what kind of pain management you want during labor and delivery. The Anesthesiologists also are pain medicine specialists who treat patients suffering from chronic pain, such as headaches and back pain.

Anesthesia Team