Is it safe to have anesthesia in a doctor's office?

There is one fundamental and very important difference between office-based anesthesia and receiving anesthesia in a hospital or surgical center: The strict, well-defined standards and regulations that help keep surgery and anesthesia very safe in hospitals and surgical centers do not uniformly apply to physicians' offices in the United States.

Currently, only a few states and the District of Columbia require the same standards and regulations in doctors' offices as they do in hospitals and surgical centers. Without minimum safety standards, however, there is a chance that office-based surgery may be taking place in environments with limited or outdated equipment, few or no emergency resources, inadequately trained staff or insufficient safety precautions.

This absence of standards and regulations, however, does not mean that the medical community is ignoring the needs of patients. In fact, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has developed comprehensive guidelines for office-based anesthesia and is urging states to adopt these same guidelines as regulations to protect all patients.

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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.