Anesthesiology is the practice of medicine that uses specific drugs to render your entire body—or part of your body—insensitive to pain. Anesthesia will enable you to tolerate a surgical procedure comfortably, with minimal emotional stress. Based upon the type of surgery you are having, among other factors, there are different types of anesthesia.
An anesthesiologist is a doctor of medicine with three or more additional years of specialty training in anesthesia. Anesthesiologists are involved in intensive care, cardiac resuscitation, respiratory therapy and pain treatment. Their primary role, however, is to care for patient needs during surgery or obstetrics, and in the immediate postoperative period.
Anesthesiologists are board-certified physicians who provide anesthesia services at Overlake. Many have additional expertise in obstetric, pediatric and cardiovascular anesthesia. They are dedicated to providing high quality, comprehensive anesthesia care to patients in an environment of respect and compassion.
If you have any questions before or after your hospitalization, check the anesthesia frequently asked questions page, or call the anesthesia hotline at (425) 646-5825 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. where an anesthesiologist will be glad to assist you.
Types of Anesthesia
At Overlake Medical Center, the type of anesthesia used for a surgical procedure is determined by several factors including type and length of the surgery.
People often think of general anesthesia as "going to sleep." Anesthesia is carefully controlled unconsciousness that affects the whole body. The drugs used to create a state of general anesthesia are potent and affect all of the body's organs at once. They are administered through intravenous (IV) or gas inhalation so they work quickly and smoothly. The anesthesiologist monitors your vital signs constantly to avoid side effects of the drugs. Learn more.
Regional anesthesia involves making a particular region of your body numb, or insensitive to pain. The region is usually large, like a limb or your lower body. You may hear anesthesiologists may refer to this as "giving a block," because as they inject local anesthetics near a nerve or nerve bundle, it will block sensation. For surgical procedures, this is the most commonly used alternative to general anesthesia.
Particular forms of regional anesthesia include spinal, epidural, arm or shoulder blocks. Learn more.
Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC)
Giving local anesthesia is only part of this method. Monitored anesthesia care means that the anesthesiologist is with you at all times during your procedure. The anesthesiologist will monitor your vital signs, give you oxygen to support your breathing and, at the same time, give you medication through your IV to help you relax. The surgeon will inject local anesthetics to numb the area where the incision and surgery will take place.
If for some reason you experience any discomfort during the procedure, let us know immediately. The anesthesiologist will give you additional medication to help make you more comfortable, or the surgeon can inject additional local anesthetic to numb painful sensations.
Most women find the experience of childbirth uncomfortable at some point. This discomfort varies greatly from person to person. Some women use relaxation or other techniques during the labor process and want minimal assistance with pain relief while others use one of the anesthesia options listed above. Learn more.