Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who specialize in anesthesiology, which is the medical science of relieving pain and managing the body's vital functions, such as breathing, heartbeat, circulation, temperature, and consciousness.

An anesthesiologist may administer medicine that numbs the area of the body where a procedure is being performed (regional anesthesia) or make sure a person is unconscious and pain-free during a procedure (general anesthesia). An anesthesiologist may also supervise a certified registered nurse anesthetist or a licensed anesthesia assistant. Anesthesiologists can further specialize in areas such as critical care medicine, pain management, pediatric anesthesia, cardiac anesthesia, or obstetric anesthesia.

Anesthesiologists can be board-certified through the Board of Anesthesiology, which is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John M. Freedman, MD - Anesthesiology