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
- 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.
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.