The field of Anesthesiology refers to the branch of medicine that studies how to suppress the perception of pain and sensation in the brain. An anesthesiologist administers anesthesia for patients who undergo surgery and other medical procedures that cause pain. Three general types of anesthesia can be administered:
- General anesthesia that causes loss of consciousness
- Regional anesthesia that selectively blocks areas of the spinal cord and nerves.
- Local anesthesia that numbs the sensation to the applied site.
An anesthesiologist can also diagnose and treat patients suffering from acute and chronic pain syndromes. Some anesthesiologists complete Pain Fellowships and concentrate their medical practice on performing injections (such as epidural steroid injections) to help provide pain relief for patients with ongoing pain. These specialists are often referred to as pain management specialists or pain medicine specialists.