WHO IS AN ANESTHESIA PROVIDER?

ANESTHESIOLOGISTS

Anesthesiologists are the most trained of anesthesia providers.  They are anesthesia specialized physicians (MD or DO) that have completed, in addition to their undergraduate degree, four years of medical school and four years of residency training. Those who have completed these requirements are then eligible to become board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) or the American Osteopathic Board of Anesthesiology (AOBA).

What some often do not realize is anesthesiologists provide medical care before, during and after surgery.  The term being perioperative physician. They complete a patient evaluation before surgery to take the patient’s health and procedure into account before deciding on the safest anesthesia plan. During surgery, they monitor the patient and make any adjustments needed as the procedure takes place. After surgery, the anesthesiologist will monitor the patient as they wake up from the anesthesia, and watch for, and treat any side effects that may occur due to the anesthesia.

NURSE ANESTHETISTS

Another anesthesia provider is a nurse anesthetists, commonly referred to as CRNA which stands for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.  They have at minimum a graduate-level degree and board certification in anesthesia from the National Boards of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists.  CRNAs either work with an Anesthesia Care Team where they work beside anesthesiologists who supervise and assist in the anesthesia plan, or they practice independently with a supervising physician or anesthesiologist.  The scope of practice for CRNAs varies by state.

WHAT TYPES OF ANESTHESIA ARE THERE?

GENERAL ANESTHESIA

General anesthesia is administered so the patient is in an unconscious state. Patients should have no feeling or awareness of pain.

REGIONAL ANESTHESIA

Regional anesthesia affects a certain area of the body, for example a leg. Patients may be awake or sedated when regional anesthesia takes place. It is administered through an injection. An epidurals is a common example of a regional anesthesia.

LOCAL ANESTHESIA

Local anesthesia does not affect the patient’s state of consciousness.  Typically, it concerns a small part of the body and is sometimes combined with the use of regional and general anesthesia. A common example of local anesthesia is in dental work.

WANT MORE RESOURCES TO LEARN ABOUT ANESTHESIA?

Lifeline to Modern Medicine is a website created by the American Society of Anesthesiologists for anesthesia patients.  The website provides articles, videos, patient stories, frequently asked questions and more. LIFELINE to MODERN MEDICINE

If you have questions about anesthesia billing, visit our anesthesia billing questions page.