Anaesthetists: What They Do & Why You Need One

Introduction to Anaesthesiology

Anesthesiology is a medical practice that specializes in minimizing the pain that allows the patient to be in a stable condition during and after the surgery. It is practiced in every branch of medicine as long as a surgical procedure needs to be performed. There are three major types of anaesthesia available:-

  • General anesthesia
  • Sedation anaesthesia; also known as Monitored Anesthesia care (MAC)
  • Regional/local anesthesia

The type of anesthesia is chosen, based on the patient’s medical history and the treatment plan for his/her operation.

Study and Training Required to be an Anaesthetist

A five and half years M.B.B.S. graduation program from a medical college is a requisite if one wants to become an Anesthesiologist. In addition to the graduation, specialized training in anesthesiology needs to be undertaken as a part of the post-graduation curriculum. They can further pursue a super specialization in various fields like critical care medicine, neuro anesthesia, cardiac anesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, and pain management.

What are the diseases/conditions managed by an Anaesthetist?

Some common conditions managed by Anaesthetist are:

  • Postoperative Pain
  • Postoperative Respiratory Depression
  • Perioperative Myocardial Infarction
  • Perioperative Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Continuous medical care before, during and after surgical procedure

What Does an Anaesthetist Do?

The anesthesiology department is responsible for the safety of patients going under surgery. They provide care for the patient to prevent the pain and distress they experience otherwise. This may involve putting the patient completely to sleep; in case of general anaesthesia, to calm the patient and make him/her unaware; in case of sedation anaesthesia or, and to numb a specific body part/area; in case of regional anaesthesia. 

Before the surgery, the Anaesthetist talks to the patient and establishes a plan to sedate you in accordance with your surgeon. At this time, the Anaesthetist makes sure you are ready for the operation and do not experience any pain during the procedure.

Other Common Procedures Performed by an Anaesthetist

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Lumbar Puncture
  • Painless Labour
  • Mechanical Ventilation
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation
  • Stellate Ganglion Nerve Blocks
  • Trigger Point Injections
  • Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (Artificial Lung)
  • Carpal Tunnel Nerve Block (Median Nerve)
  • Percutaneous Dilatational Tracheostomy

Why Should Patients Care About Anaesthesia?

The anesthesiology department allows you to undergo surgery safely and pain-free. Anaesthetists use specialized techniques during the procedure in order to make you feel comfortable. He/she makes sure that your blood pressure is under control, this reduces bleeding and the need for a transfusion. Good pain management on your Anaesthetist’s part reduces the risk of heart attacks and other postoperative complications. It also helps patients perform physical therapy that leads to better surgical outcomes, especially after orthopaedic procedures.

Can’t the Anaesthetist Just Inject the Anaesthesia and Then Leave?

No, that would be very unsafe. The Anaesthetist must remain constantly with the patient to monitor his/her heart rate, blood pressure, level of awareness during the surgery, and take necessary action if the need arises.

Dr. Divaanshu Gupta

Dr. Divaanshu Gupta is a cardiac anaesthesiologist in Manipal Hospital, Jaipur. He has done his M.B.B.S. as well as M.D. Anaesthesia from S.M.S. Medical College. He has a vast experience of working in various critical care units of government as well as corporate hospitals.

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