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Can I choose the anesthesiologist for my surgery?

Betty Long, RN, MHA
Nursing Specialist

If you are scheduled to have surgery, it's likely that your surgeon will determine where you will be having the surgery because he/she operates at certain facilities. Likewise, the anesthesia team that is at that facility will be providing your anesthesia. So you may not have too much control over who is working with you. 

Any time you are scheduled to have surgery, you should have a pre-surgery interview with an anesthesiologist. At that time, the anesthesiologist will review your medical history, your surgical history, and ask questions like whether you've ever had any difficulties with anesthesia. Answer the questions honestly for your intraoperative safety. There's no point in misrepresenting your history.

If you do have health insurance, it's a good idea before your surgery to confirm that the anesthesiologist is 'in network' with your insurance plan. Many patients have come to Guardian Nurses to ask for help dealing with hospital bills that they've gotten after their surgery. The bills claim that the anesthesia was delivered by an "out of network" provider. You can't confirm that if you're sleeping (under anesthesia) so do it ahead of time!

You may have a choice as to who your anesthesiologist will be. Your surgeon may refer you to an anesthesiologist or you may request one based on a personal recommendation or based on your own previous experience. However, you must make that choice known in advance so that arrangements may be made to honor your request. Since your anesthesiologist is responsible for your comfort, safety and medical care during surgery, it is important that you meet before entering the operating room.

Most patients cannot choose their anesthesiologist. People generally choose a surgeon or hospital instead. Learn more in this video.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.