Preparing You For Surgery

Before surgery, the anesthesiologist monitors the patient’s life signs using advanced electronic equipment. After surgery, the anesthesiologist continues to direct the patient’s treatment and recovery.”

When it is time for surgery, the anesthesiologist will carry out the plan previously developed. Usually, some medication is given to help the patient relax. Special monitors may be utilized before surgery to allow closer observation of the patient’s life functions during the operation. These monitors are placed using procedures for which the anesthesiologist has been specially trained. At this same time epidural catheters may be placed for pain control after surgery, as well as during the procedure itself.

Before the surgery begins, the anesthesiologist monitors the patient’s life functions, using advanced electronic equipment. The anesthesiologist then administers the anesthetic as planned. It may be general anesthesia in which the patient is completely asleep, regional anesthesia such as a spinal or epidural block, or local anesthesia. No matter what type of anesthetic, the anesthesiologist makes sure that the patient is comfortable and relaxed. The anesthesiologist uses the data from the monitors to ensure that the patient is also safe. In order to allow the surgeon to perform certain surgeries, the anesthesiologist may have to stop the patient’s breathing and provide artificial respiration for the patient.

The anesthesiologist also may have to lower the patient’s blood pressure, yet control it so that it is not low enough to cause a stroke or heart attack. If a catastrophe occurs during surgery, the anesthesiologist administers drugs, fluids, blood, or begins CPR while the surgeon works on the surgical problem.

These are just a few of the challenges the anesthesiologist meets every day. Yet, because the anesthesiologist is highly trained and monitoring equipment is so sophisticated, anesthesia is very safe. At the conclusion of surgery the anesthetic is reversed or allowed to wear off, and the patient goes to a recovery room or intensive care unit for observation. The anesthesiologist continues to direct treatment through contact with nurses until the patient is safely recovered from the anesthetic.