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What is an anesthesiologist?

An anesthesiologist is a doctor who practices within the field of anesthesia. These doctors specialize in perioperative care, creating anesthetic plans, and administrating anesthetics.

An anesthesiologist may administer:

  • general anesthesia—provided through an IV or anesthesia mask, this causes the patient to lose consciousness; often used for major operations
  • sedation—intravenous delivery that makes the patient feel calm and/or unaware
  • regional anesthesia—pain medication that numbs a large part of the body, often administered near nerves

An anesthesiologist remains with the patient for the entire surgery to monitor important vital signs (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, awareness level, breathing) and make changes as needed.

The anesthesiologist also plays a vital role before an operation by ensuring the patient is medically fit for surgery.

Following surgery, the anesthesiologist will monitor recovery and determine when the patient has recovered from the effects of anesthesia and is ready to go home.

Why are anesthesiologists important in healthcare?

The anesthesiologist ensures the patient’s safety while undergoing surgery and helps prevent the pain and distress they would otherwise experience during the procedure. With an anesthesiologist’s assistance, surgeons are able to perform life-improving or life-saving procedures while keeping the patient at ease.