Anesthesiology | Anesthesia

Anesthesiology is a branch of medicine dedicated to the medical care of patients having surgery or other medical procedures. MaineHealth anesthesia providers are committed to providing surgical patients with a safe, comfortable experience.

What is anesthesia?

Anesthesia is a way to control pain during a surgery or procedure by using medicine called anesthetics. It can help control your breathing, blood pressure, blood flow, and heart rate and rhythm. Anesthesia may be used to:

  • Relax you
  • Block pain
  • Make you sleepy or forgetful
  • Make you unconscious for your surgery

The three main types of anesthesia are:

  • Local anesthesia, which numbs one small area of the body
  • Regional anesthesia, which blocks pain in a larger area of the body, such as an entire arm or leg
  • General anesthesia, which causes a person to become unconscious so that surgery can take place

General Anesthesia

When people are scheduled for surgery, they often ask about anesthesia. They want to know how it's given and what to expect. Watch this short video to learn more.


Source: Healthwise

What does general anesthesia feel like?

During general anesthesia, an anesthesia provider will be at your side continuously. You will be carefully monitored with specialized equipment to detect any problems, enhance safety and keep things running smoothly. 

General anesthesia makes you unconscious during surgery. You don't feel pain and you are not aware of what is happening around you. It affects your entire body--your breathing, your heartbeat, and your blood pressure.It also affects your reflexes, such as gagging and swallowing. When you have general anesthesia, you will usually have a soft tube in your throat. It's used to help you breathe or keep your airways open. The tube is put in after you're unconscious, so you won't feel it. But you may have a sore throat after the surgery.

The medicine is given by an anesthesia specialist. You may get it through a tube in your vein, or you may breathe it in. In many cases, people have a combination of both. The specialist makes sure that you get the right amount of medicine to keep you unconscious during the surgery. You'll be kept safe and comfortable, from beginning to end.

How long it takes to come out of anesthesia after the surgery depends on the medicines used and how your body responds to them. You may feel a little sick to your stomach when you come out of general anesthesia. But this can be easily treated. Some people, especially older adults, may feel confused or have trouble thinking for a few days after the surgery. General anesthesia has been used safely for a long time.If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your anesthesia specialist before the surgery.

What are the different types of anesthesiology specialists?

  • Anesthesiologists are medical doctors with specialized training in an accredited anesthesiology residency program. Anesthesiologists ensure patients undergo surgery safely and comfortably. Anesthesiologists use specialized techniques during surgery to accomplish this. Anesthesiologists are also experts in management of pain.
  • Anesthetists are generally nurses who have graduated from an accredited nurse anesthetist program. Most have been certified by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Certified nurse anesthetists are advanced practice nurses with special skills in administering anesthesia. They provide anesthesia and related care before and after surgical, therapeutic, and diagnostic procedures. They can deliver pain management and emergency services.
  • Anesthesiologist assistants (AAs) are certified by the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA). They have special knowledge of anesthesia drugs and techniques. They work under the supervision of an anesthesiologist and are qualified to administer anesthesia to patients.

Anesthesiology Residency Program

Founded in 1953, the Maine Medical Center anesthesiology residency program maintains a long tradition of outstanding and rigorous clinical training.
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