Nurse Anesthetist Vs Anethesiologist?

One of the 3 PS I've consulted regarding a lower body lift uses a nurse anesthetist vs an anesthesiologist. This surgeon is well experienced, referred to him by my bariatric surgeon and operates out of his own O.R. Due to this being a 5 1/2 hr surgery, this issue of using a nurse anesthetist concerns me. Is my concern valid and would it be wrong to request the surgeon use a Anesthesiologist? Saving $1500 is not worth it to me.

Doctor Answers 7

Should I Have A Nurse Or A Doctor Administer My Anesthesia?

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Thank you very much for this excellent question.  I have never felt comfortable having a nurse anesthetist taking my patient's life into their hands.  I know some of them are great at what they do.  I personally would never allow a nurse anesthetist to give anesthesia for myself or my family.  I think you are very wise to question the use of a nurse in this situation.  Have another consultation with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and tell him or her of your concerns and your willingness to pay extra for greater safety.

Anesthesia Choices for Plastic Surgery

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Any concerns you have for your safety are valid simply because you should feel totally comfortable with the procedure particulars as well as the entire staff responsible for your care.

In plastic surgery, we often refer to the 3 distinct choices for sedation:

  • Local Anesthesia
  • IV Anesthesia
  • General Anesthesia

I prefer monitored IV sedation with a board certified anesthesiologist in charge of monitoring the patient’s vital signs so I can concentrate on surgery. There are many benefits to twilight IV anesthesia including less nausea and a much quicker recovery time.

The web reference explains the different levels of sedation in more detail so you can make a more informed decision when discussing this with your surgeon or anesthesiologist.

The video features Dr. Todd Hobelmann, one of the board certified anesthesiologists who administers the anesthesia to our surgical patients, explaining why IV sedation is a better choice for most patients (as opposed to general anesthesia).

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 98 reviews

Anesthesia Care

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You ask a very good question.  In my AAAASF accredited surgery facility, I only have a board certified anesthesiologist care for my patients.   This is my preference.  However, it is not wrong to have an experienced CRNA too.   My suggestion - please talk to your plastic surgeon and express your concerns.  Perhaps he can schedule your case with a board certified anesthesiologist? If not, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate your team and choice of surgeon.  My suggestion - do not do anything with which you do not feel comfortable.  Best of luck

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Anesthesia Choice

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Thank you for your question.

This is a very common question and your surgeon will most likely be happy to discuss this with you.  If you are concerned and want a board certified anesthesiologist performing your surgery, talk to your surgeon and see what he/she can arrange. If this cannot be arranged for you, then you need to decide if you are comfortable proceeding with this OR team.

Best wishes.

Nurse Anesthetist Vs Anethesiologist?

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I would say that it is totally your call and your wishes are appropriate. If your preference is for an MD anesthesiologist, let the surgeon know, If he or she is not willing to consider your preference, you will need to decide whether that is enough to change your surgeon preference.

Thanks, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Nurse Anesthetist Vs Anethesiologist?

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Very hard question to advise on. First of all your safety ad peace of mind comes into play. Also a 5+ hour extensive/intensive operation in an office operating suite is of additional concern. In hospital overnight stay for this operation might be a better choice for you. But there are other issues involved here. I use mostly MD anesthesia in my office OR but also have used nurse anesthesia so I have no bones to pick so to say. To me it depends upon the type of surgery in making the final decision. Seek additional consults and re consults. Best of luck 


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A Board Certified Plastic surgeon, and Board Certified Anesthesiologist and an accrideted facility. Your safety comes first

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.