UNM Health anesthesiologists are dedicated to your comfort and safety before, during and after surgery. Our physician anesthesiologists use the latest anesthesia technology to safely help you sleep through surgery and provide surgical pain relief.

We Put Safety First

Our anesthesiologists train for over ten years to be able to do anesthesia procedures. They are specially trained doctors who evaluate your condition and recommend an appropriate anesthesia plan. They also diagnose and treat problems during surgery.

While complications aren’t common during surgery, anesthesiologists make critical, split-second decisions that can save your life.

The UNM Health anesthesia team is committed to the highest standards of patient care. You can expect our team to:

  • Use medicines to adjust (fine-tune) your breathing, blood circulation, temperature, kidney function and other important body functions.
  • Make sure you are at your medical best right before surgery to ensure the safest conditions for surgery.
  • Administer a wide variety of medicines to ensure comfort, treat pain and keep your vital signs steady and safe during surgery.
  • Control your medical needs and pain in the early period right after surgery.
  • Provide the best operating conditions for your surgeon.

Schedule an Appointment

Make an appointment with a UNM Health provider or anesthesiologist to talk about your choices.

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Do I Need Anesthesia?

Your surgeon or providing doctor will let you know if anesthesia is required during your surgery or procedure. You may have anesthesia during all kinds of procedures and surgeries, from mild sedation during colonoscopies to complete deep sleep during abdominal surgeries. You may also have anesthesia for these reasons as well:

  • Imaging services—anesthesia may be delivered during MRIs to minimize your movement and help calm you.
  • Interventional pain care—nerve blocks or spinal injections can relieve your pain before or after surgery.
  • Labor—some women may need an epidural to numb pain during delivery.

Anesthesia FAQs

A physician anesthesiologist will join your care team if you need surgery, a procedure or advanced pain relief. UNM Health anesthesiologists are experts in pain management for health needs like surgery, minor procedures, chronic pain conditions and childbirth.

Yes. Only anesthesiology experts with advanced training can give anesthesia medicines. Before we approve you for anesthesia, the expert team at UNM Health takes many factors into account to ensure your safety.

We will choose the safest anesthesia medicines based on your personal health history. We look at things like allergies, heart problems, or diabetes. We also look at the demands of your procedure.

During your procedure, we will monitor your heart and breathing from beginning to end. After your procedure, we will stay with you as feeling comes back to make sure you are safe and comfortable.

The risk of complications with anesthesia is low and may include:

  • Breathing issues
  • Delirium or confusion after surgery
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Muscle contractions
  • Sick stomach
  • Pain or itching at the IV or injection site

General: This type uses IV (medicine put into your veins) or medicine that is breathed in to make you fully asleep during a procedure. You will be unable to feel pain or move while you are under general anesthesia. It is used for surgeries like broken bone repairs.

Monitored: Also known as twilight anesthesia, this form uses IV medicines to lessen anxiety and pain during procedures. You will be awake but a little groggy, and you may or may not remember the procedure. For example, we use this type of anesthesia during colonoscopies.

Regional: With this type, you will be unable to move or feel pain in a certain part of the body, but you will be awake and alert. The medicine may be given through an injection, or IV. Childbirth epidurals are an example of regional anesthesia.

Depending on the type of anesthesia you get, you will either be fully unconscious, partly sedated, or numbed in the area that is being treated. While you may be alert or aware, you will not feel pain at the surgical site during the procedure.

It is extremely rare for patients to become conscious while under general anesthesia. During surgery, your anesthesiologist will watch you for signs of waking early and adjust your medicines to keep you asleep. In the rare cases when patients become aware during surgery, most do not feel pain and only have faint, if any, memory of the event.

Your body's natural reflexes keep food and drink in your digestive system and out of your lungs. Anesthesia may relax those reflexes, and allow stomach contents to enter the airways. This rare issue can be dangerous, and having an empty stomach reduces the risk.

This depends on the types of medicines or supplements you take. Your Health Care Provider will help you figure out which are safe to take before surgery.

UNM Health's expert anesthesiology team is available on site, 24/7—most hospitals only have one or two anesthesiologists on call, off site. All of our anesthesiologists have advanced training and many specialize in certain areas to meet specific patient needs.

If you have one anesthesiologist in mind, we will do our best to honor your wishes. However, we may not be able to fulfil every request.