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Anesthesiology

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Anesthesiology is a branch of medical science that studies and applies anesthetics. An anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who works on surgical patients and pain relief for patients. They give you anesthetics, which are medicines that help prevent patients from feeling any pain and/or sensations. They closely monitor patients' vital signs during surgery and adjust anesthetics accordingly. Finally they monitor patients through the first recovery stages after their surgery and give the correct medications during the recovery process.[1]

Anesthesia is a drug that controls pain in a surgery and/or other medical procedures. This also includes being monitored and using other medications with the anesthesia itself. Along with other medications that are used to relax your muscles, anesthesia also relaxes you, blocks your pain, makes you sleepy or forgetful, and/or makes you unconscious for your surgery or other medical procedures.[2]

Anesthesia

Anesthesia is a drug that controls pain during a medical procedure. This type of drug could be used to relax you, block pain, make you sleepy or forgetful, and/or make you unconscious for your surgery. Some may even be used to relax your muscles during a surgery. In order for anesthesiologist to use this on you, they might use other medicines and monitor you closely to keep you comfortable. This can also help control breathing, blood pressure, blood flow, and heart rate and rhythm when needed. The person who takes charge of your comfort and safety while you are under anesthesia is an anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist.

There are three types of anesthesia local anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and general anesthesia. [3]

Local anesthesia

The first type, local anesthesia, numbs a small portion of the body. A shot of local anesthesia is given directly to the spot that is being operated on, this will block the pain. You could still be awake for this because it is only really used in minor procedures. You might also be given an alternate medication to help you sleep and relax.[4]

Regional anesthesia

The next type is regional anesthesia. This type of anesthesia blocks more pain then local anesthesia, but less then general anesthesia. Again with this type of anesthesia you might get other medications to help you relax or sleep. There are two major types of regional anesthesia used. They are as follows:

  • The first is peripheral nerve blocks. This blocks pain in the part of the body that is supplied by the nerve. It is most often used in procedures involving the hands, arms, feet, legs, or face.
  • The second is epidural and spinal anesthesia. This is a shot next to or near the spinal cord and the nerves that connect to it. This is used in procedures to block pain from an entire region like in body parts like the belly, hips, or legs.[5]

General anesthesia

The third and final type of anesthesia is general anesthesia. This type of anesthesia affects all of the body and the brain, putting you in to a completely inattentive state. You can not feel pain during the surgery and you are totally unaware of what is going on. You can take it in a shot through your vein or you can inhale it. This type of anesthesia can also cause you to forget surgery and what happened after it.[6]

How is it determined?

The type of anesthesia you receive depends on your past and current health, the reason for your surgery, the type of surgery you are getting, and/or the results of tests such as blood tests or a electrocardiogram. [7]

Risks

The risks of anesthesia are very few. The risks really depend on how health you are, the type of anesthesia you receive, and the other types of medicines that were used. The Anesthesiologist and or the nurse will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure so most side effects can be avoided. The effects of anesthesia are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Small drop in body temperature
  • You may feel cold and/or shiver when you first wake up.

[8]

Prep

Your doctor will tell you what is going to happen before, during, and after the surgery. They will also give you a list of instructions of what to do. Your doctor will also tell you to stop eating and drinking before your surgery. For how long will depend on your health and the type of anesthesia that you will be receiving. You will have to give the doctors your consent in order to get the anesthesia. Your doctors and nurse will also discuss the types of risks, anesthesia, benefits, and other choices. A lot of people get nervous before they are given the anesthesia and go into surgery, so in order to relax, mental relaxation methods as well as medicines are used. [9]

Recovery

After your surgery you will go to a recovery room. You will be cared for there by nurses under the direction of an anesthesiologist. The nurse will check all the vital signs, check your bandages, and ask to see how much pain you are in. The anesthesia may last for a while after the surgery. If you get the local anesthesia you may have some numbness in part of your body. Your coordination and your muscle control may be affected as well. After you wake up from the anesthesia you may:

  • Have nausea or vomiting or both, but in most cases this can be treated and does not last long.
  • Or you may also have a small drop in your body temperature or feel cold and shiver when you first wake up.

But your nurses and your doctor will do their best to make you as comfortable as they can.[10]

Anesthesiologists

An anesthesiologist is a doctor who focuses on surgical patients and pain relief. They give you a medication during surgery called anesthetics. These cause you to not feel any pain or sensations while you are in surgery. They will closely monitor the patient’s vitals during the surgery and then adjust the anesthetics according to what the patient needs. Anesthesiologists not only helps with the prevention of pain and sensation during the surgery they also help treat patients with conditions causing chronic pain. [11]

Education and Schools

Anesthesiologist education is very extensive. Not only do they have to go through basic medical education but they also have to go through additional medical education. Anesthesiologists are very well educated medical professionals. Anesthesiologists have to complete a four year undergraduate degree and also go through four years of a medical school program. The first year for an anesthesiologist consists of specialized training. They must do a general internship; there they are trained in diagnosis or treatment in other areas of medicine. After that there is a very intense three year residency program on the technology and medical aspects of anesthesiology. If you are interested in becoming an anesthesiologist you should have a strong background in classes like physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. An anesthesiologist also has to study cardiology, critical care medicine, internal medicine, pharmacology, and surgery. There are different fields that a anesthesiologist can specialize in like neurosurgical anesthesiology, and undergo additional training in that field. After an anesthesiologist has completed college, medical school, and the training they are almost done. Because there are so many new developments anesthesiologist are required to always update their education.[12]

The training requirements are very extensive. The person must go through an internship their first year. This trains them in both diagnosis and in treatment. Then an intense program on the technology and medical aspects of anesthesiology, this will last three years. During these four years they must also study other things such as cardiology, critical care medicine, internal medicine, pharmacology, and surgery. Once they have completed all the schooling and the specialized training they must stay educated in the ever changing technology, so constant study in that and other things like physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics are highly recommended.[13]

The Job

The education needed is college, medical school, and specialized training. the salary is around $321,686 per year. In order to get this job you should be driven, self-motivated, and willing to work long hours under intense pressure. [14]

References

  • " Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and Profiles :: Health ". stateuniversity.com. 5/1/09 [15]
  • "Becoming an Anesthesiologist". University of Florida. 5/1/09 [16]
  • "Anesthesia - Topic Overview". Webmd. 5/1/09 [17]
  • "Anesthesia and You". American society of anesthesiologists. 5/1/09 [18]