Anesthesiology is a branch of medicine that focuses on pain relief during and after surgery. Practitioners of anesthesiology often also undertake non-surgical pain relief and critical care management.
The main responsibility of physician anesthesiologists is for the safety of the patient before, during and after surgery - perioperative care to administer drugs that keep the patient in a controlled state of consciousness.
Every anesthesiologist has been trained for this responsibility, but many also specialize in non-surgical areas of medical care, particularly pain medicine (pain specialists) and critical care (intensivists).
As well as being found in operating theaters, some anesthesiologists specialize in treating pain. Of course, anesthesiologists are concerned with any pain resulting from surgery - postoperative pain - but there is a long list of other scenarios in which anesthesiologists specializing in pain medicine could become involved - from headaches, through chest, abdominal and pelvic pain, to burns and diabetes pain just to name a small number of conditions.
The Patient Surgery Checklist
Prior to Surgery:
Every patient has a pre-op meeting with anesthesia services prior to their scheduled surgery date. This meeting is scheduled and must take place within 30 days of the scheduled surgery. For safety, on the evening prior to surgery, after midnight the patient must have nothing to eat or drink (NPO). Patients should continue all medications prescribed by their Surgeon/PCM unless otherwise instructed by anesthesia during the pre-op visit.
On the Day of Surgery:
All patients are to arrive at their scheduled appointment time. Each patient will be re-evaluated by Anesthesia to ensure no changes since the pre-op visit. For Ortho patients only: if peripheral nerve block requested/required, all blocks will be placed prior to surgical procedure unless otherwise indicated. Prior to being released patients will meet All Post Anesthesia Criteria.
Patients are to follow all instructions provided by Surgeon/Anesthesia/PCM and follow up with appropriate service as needed. Any Anesthesia related questions will be directed to the WACH Anesthesia Department.