What is an Anesthesiologist?

What does an anesthesiologist do?

Anesthesiologists are physicians who care for patients before, during and after surgery – known as the perioperative period.  In the operating room, anesthesiologists assess patients, administer drugs for sedation and pain management, and monitor patients’ breathing, blood pressure, and other vital life systems during medical procedures and surgeries.  Outside of the operating room, anesthesiologists resuscitate patients in emergency rooms, treat critically ill patients in the ICU and treat patients with chronic pain issues.

What is anesthesia?

Anesthesia is the use of medicine to prevent pain during medical procedures or surgery.  Anesthetic drugs have different effects ranging from causing numbness in a specific area (local and regional anesthesia) to causing loss of consciousness (general anesthesia).  Anesthetic drugs may be given to a patient as an injection, given intravenously into the bloodstream, inhaled as a gas, or even administered topically on the skin as a lotion or cream.

How much education and training is required to become an anesthesiologist?

Anesthesiologists must complete college (4 years) and medical school (4 years), followed by training in a residency program (4 years).  Anesthesiologists must be licensed by the state to be allowed to practice medicine.  UW anesthesiologists also take a national exam to become board certified in anesthesiology.  Some anesthesiologists continue their training with a one or two-year fellowship in a specialized area of anesthesiology medicine.

What are some specialty areas in anesthesiology?

UW anesthesiologists are trained in a number of subspecialty areas including cardiac anesthesiology, critical care medicine and palliative care,  neuroanesthesiology, obstetric anesthesiology, pain management, pediatric anesthesiology, regional anesthesiology and transplant anesthesiology.