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Anesthesiology is the practice of medicine dedicated to: 

  • The comprehensive care of patients before, during and after surgery and childbirth;
  • Critical care medicine;
  • And, the treatment of acute and chronic pain.

Each year, millions of people in the United States undergo some form of medical treatment requiring anesthesia. Anesthesia, in the hands of qualified professionals like Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), is a safe and effective means of alleviating pain during nearly every type of medical procedure.

Most people know CRNAs care for patients on the operating table – but may be surprised by their other expert specialties.

  • Surgical general anesthesia: It is the CRNA’s role to keep the patient comfortable, safe and pain-free during surgery by administering a general anesthetic. During general anesthesia, the patient is unconscious and cannot be aroused or made alert. For example, operations in the abdomen usually are done under general anesthesia. The CRNA is responsible for the patient’s well-being before, during and after surgery, including ongoing care after the surgery in the post-operative care unit.
  • Sedation for noninvasive, uncomfortable non-surgical procedures: Certain medical procedures, such as endoscopies, colonoscopies and MRI studies, may also require the services of an anesthetist. During light sedation, patients are easily aroused, are able to breathe without help, and there is little effect on heart function or blood pressure.
  • Regional anesthesia: Techniques in which nerves are blocked using so-called “local anesthetic” medications are called regional anesthesia. Regional anesthesia is used for a variety of major and minor surgeries. It is frequently used for orthopedic surgical procedures such a knee or hip replacements.
  • Acute and chronic pain management: An additional service provided by the CRNA is treatment of chronic pain conditions resulting from injury, disease, surgeries and many other causes. Some of the most common interventional methods for pain relief include nerve blocks, epidural injections, facet joint injections, neurolytic injections, neuroma and scar injections, and trigger-point injections. The objective of these interventional methods is to provide longer lasting pain relief for patients so they can lead more enjoyable and productive lives.

Steve Eck, CRNA, with NorthStar Anesthesia, offers patients a wide range of the most advanced and efficient methods and interventions available. The type of anesthesia that is chosen is based on the patient’s medical history, the planned operation or procedure, and the patient’s preferences. A preoperative/procedure interview with the patient will determine which anesthetic is best for that individual. Eck’s services require physician referral.