Anesthesiology makes many aspects of modern medicine possible. Today’s precise dosing and range of pharmaceuticals allow doctors to target pain more efficiently, leading to shorter recovery times for the patient and a lower risk of complications. There’s a reason that anesthesiology is among the highest-paid professions: becoming an anesthesiologist requires detailed knowledge of biology and pharmacology. Anesthesiologists work with other doctors before a procedure to determine the right amount and type of anesthesia to administer and monitor patients while they are under anesthesia.
Ahead of the surgery, the method of anesthesia might be the last thing on your mind, but knowing about the details of their procedure makes many patients feel more at ease.
Here are five things to know about anesthesia:
1. It Varies by Magnitude
Patients getting a tooth pulled don’t receive the same kind of anesthesia as one having major invasive surgery. Local anesthesia affects only the area of the procedure, leaving the rest of the body with full sensation. Twilight anesthesia leaves you relaxed and pain-free but still aware of your surroundings. General anesthesia, the most extensive type, puts the patient in a sleep-like state that leaves no memory of the procedure.
2. It Has Been Used for 175 Years
The first synthetic anesthetic, ether, was first administered in Boston in 1846. A safer and more effective alternative to alcohol or existing drugs, it revolutionized surgery. A London newspaper declared at the time, “We have conquered pain.”
3. The Anesthesiologist Remains During Surgery
Administering anesthesia is not the end of the anesthesiologist’s job. During the procedure, they remain in the room to monitor vital signs – blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and oxygen levels – and modify dosing if necessary.
4. There are a Variety of Ways to Administer It
How anesthesia is administered depends on whether you are receiving local, twilight, or general anesthesia, as well as the nature and location of the procedure. It can be administered in gas or liquid form via a gas mask, breathing tube, or intravenous drip.
5. The Specialty Requires Extensive Training
To become an anesthesiologist, one must first complete medical school, then proceed with an additional four years of special training and instruction. Nurse anesthetists complete two additional years after graduating from nursing school.
Because so much depends on anesthesia, we could not be prouder of our excellent anesthesiologists. Using the latest techniques and technologies, they smooth the journey through serious medical procedures for both patient and clinician. For more information on PPOA’s anesthesiologists, please contact us via social media or call your local PPOA clinic.