Anesthesiology is the practice of medicine dealing with the safety and comfort of patients during medical procedures, especially surgery. While many people think of anesthesiology as strictly providing pain control, anesthesiologists are also responsible for monitoring and supporting the health of patients during surgery. By paying attention to a patient's vital signs, an anesthesiologist can both judge how effective the anesthesia is working and intervene if there are problems.
In many cases, an anesthesiologist evaluates patients before surgery, manages their health during surgery, and treats their pain after surgery. They may offer general anesthesia (where a patient is 'put under'), local anesthesia to numb a certain area, or sedatives to calm anxiety before a medical procedure. Some anesthesiologists use their training in pain relief to help patients who suffer from chronic or cancer pain.
During a surgical procedure, anesthesiologists monitor the health of their patients. Among other vital signs, they may be watching:
If there is a sudden problem during surgery, the anesthesiologist is generally one of the first to know. They act quickly to correct the problem and keep the patient safe through surgery.
More than just the doctor who puts you to sleep, anesthesiologists are highly trained physicians who work to keep you safe and comfortable.