What Does an Anesthesiologist Do?

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Anesthesiologists focus on surgical patients and reduce the amount of pain involved in procedures. Anesthesiologists administer anesthetics, which are medications designed to prevent individuals from feeling sensations and pains, while closely monitoring vital signs during surgery. Individuals in this field have a variety of responsibilities and not only work with patients through surgery, but treat patients with chronic pain. The average salary for anesthesiologists is almost $200,000 per year.

Patients

  • Anesthesiologists first meet with a surgical patient during a preoperative interview. During this interview, an anesthesiologist becomes familiar with a patient's medical history and answers any questions about the surgery. It's important that during this interview the anesthesiologist becomes aware of any pre-existing medical conditions and review the options for pain-killing drugs and anesthesia with the patient. After meeting with a patient, an anesthesiologist plans how to manage the conditions during the surgery and post-op.

Anesthesia

  • Anesthesiologists administer three types of anesthesia, local, general and regional. Local anesthetic is administered through an injection and is used to numb a specific part of the body, such as an elbow or knee. General anesthetic is administered through a mask or breathing tube and leaves a patient unconscious, unable to feel any sensation or pain. Administered by an injection, regional anesthesia is designed to numb the area of the body that requires surgery.

Surgery

  • During a surgery, anesthesiologists are in charge of a patient's life functions as the medical team perform the surgical operation. Anesthesiologists monitor a patient's vital signs--blood pressure, heart rate, kidney function and breathing. As the surgery progresses, anesthesiologists adjust anesthetics to compensate for any changes a patient's physical state may experience during the procedure.

Post-op

  • Once surgery is completed, the recovery period begins. An anesthesiologist must return a patient to a conscious state by administering medication to reverse the effects of the anesthetic. Even after surgery, anesthesiologists monitor a patient's vital signs and ensure that a patient has the necessary pain medication. Anesthesiologists determine when a patient has recovered enough to leave the recovery room.

Conditions

  • Anesthesiologists do their work in outpatient medical facilities, hospitals or anywhere else surgeries are performed. While many anesthesiologists specialize in caring for patients during and after surgeries, some work in emergency rooms and handle patients that need immediate care, such as victims suffering from hearth attacks, drug overdoses, traumatic injuries or other serious health problems.

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