Anesthesiology is the practice of medicine dedicated to the relief of pain and total care of the surgical patient before, during and after surgery.
Physician anesthesiologists are highly skilled medical doctors (M.D. or D.O.) who specialize in the field of anesthesiology.
The role of the physician anesthesiologist extends beyond the operating room. He or she 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 that allows physician anesthesiologists to make judgments about the safest anesthesia plan for each individual patient. The physician anesthesiologist is also responsible for the well being of the patient postoperatively while the patient emerges from the effects of anesthesia. They are often involved in the management of acute postoperative pain, as well as chronic and cancer pain; in cardiac and respiratory resuscitation; in blood transfusion therapies; and in respiratory therapy.
Because of their specialty training and vast experience in controlling pain during surgery, anesthesiologists are uniquely qualified to prescribe and administer drug therapies or perform special techniques for acute, chronic and cancer pain. Here are two of the most common areas in which anesthesiologists treat pain:
Acute Pain Management: In addition to relief of a patient’s pain during a surgical procedure, it is equally important for the patient’s comfort and well-being to receive adequate pain relief postoperatively. Anesthesiologists are responsible for ensuring that a patient’s pain is under control before they are discharged from the PACU. An anesthesiologist may prescribe specific pain medications or perform specialized procedures to maximize patient comfort, which helps to minimize stress on the patient’s heart and blood pressure. The techniques that are best suited for each individual patient are chosen to allow for proper rest and healing.
Chronic and Cancer Pain Management : Anesthesiologists are the vanguard of those who are developing new therapies for chronic pain syndromes and cancer-related pain. Anesthesiologists who specialize in the treatment of chronic pain often dedicate their practices exclusively to a multidisciplinary approach to pain medicine, working collaboratively with other medical specialists in a pain