Anesthesiologists are highly skilled medical doctors (M.D. or D.O.) who specialize in the field of anesthesiology. They have significantly longer and more extensive training than other classifications of anesthesia practitioners, so they are the most qualified to make anesthesia- related perioperative medical decisions.
Anesthesiologists are primarily responsible for the safety and well-being of patients before, during and after surgery. This may include:
- Placing the patient in the state of controlled unconsciousness called “general anesthesia”
- Providing “regional anesthetics,” in which only a portion of the body is made numb
- Administering sedation when indicated for the relief of pain or anxiety
All of these anesthetics provide continuous pain relief and sustain patients’ critical life functions as they are affected throughout surgical, obstetrical or other medical procedures.
The role of the anesthesiologist extends beyond the operating room. The anesthesiologist is responsible for the preoperative assessment of the patient, an evaluation process that carefully considers both the patient’s current state of health and the planned surgical procedure. This evaluation allows anesthesiologists to make judgments about the safest anesthesia plan for each individual patient. The anesthesiologist also is responsible for the well being of the patient postoperatively, while the patient emerges from the effects of anesthesia. They often are involved in the management of acute postoperative pain, as well as chronic and cancer pain; cardiac and respiratory resuscitation; blood transfusion therapies; and respiratory therapy.
Anesthesiologists in the United States complete the following education and training:
- four year undergraduate college degree
- four years of medical school
- four year anesthesiology residency program.
Although anesthesiologists complete a minimum of eight years of medical training after college, many elect to spend an additional fellowship year of specialty training in specific areas such as pediatric anesthesia, pain management, cardiac anesthesia, neuroanesthesia, obstetric anesthesia or critical care medicine. Upon completion of training, anesthesiologists are eligible for board certification by the American Board of Anesthesiology. They may also seek certification in one of following subspecialties, which require additional training and examinations: pediatric anesthesiology, critical care medicine, hospice and palliative medicine and pain medicine. The physicians of Mobile Anesthesia Care are all board certified, and some have additional board certifications in anesthesia subspecialties.