Current Environment:

A patient at the Boston Children's Hospital Anesthesiology Department.

What is anesthesiology?

Anesthesiology is a medical specialty focused on the safe management of anxiety and/or pain during a medical procedure. This can range from sedation (which can help keep a patient calm and/or still during a procedure) to regional pain control (which numbs an area of the body) to general anesthesia (which renders a patient unconscious and insensitive to pain during surgery). Physicians who specialize in anesthesiology are called anesthesiologists.

What is a pediatric anesthesiologist?

Pediatric anesthesiologists are physicians specializing in anesthesiology, but with a sole focus on the care of children from the newborn period through the teenage years. They choose to make pediatric care the core of their medical practice, and receive advanced training and experience in the unique nature of medical and surgical needs of children.

What types of treatments do pediatric anesthesiologists provide?

Pediatric anesthesiologists are responsible for the general anesthesia, sedation, and pain management needs of infants and children. Pediatric anesthesiologists generally provide the following services:

  • evaluation of complex medical problems in infants and children when surgery is needed
  • planning and care for before and after surgery
  • a nonthreatening environment for children in the operating room
  • pain control, if needed after surgery, either with intravenous (IV) medications or other anesthetic techniques
  • anesthesia and sedation for many procedures out of the operating room such as MRI, CT scan, and radiation therapy

Learn about the treatments and services provided by pediatric anesthesiologists.

Most pediatric surgeons deliver care to children in the operating room along with a pediatric anesthesiologist. Many children who need surgery have very complex medical problems that affect many parts of the body. The pediatric anesthesiologist is best qualified to evaluate these complex problems and plan a safe anesthetic for each child. Through special training and experience, pediatric anesthesiologists provide the safest care for infants and children undergoing anesthesia.

What makes the field of pediatric anesthesiology unique?

Children are not just small adults. They cannot always say what is bothering them. They cannot always answer medical questions, and are not always able to be patient and cooperative during a medical examination.

Pediatric anesthesiologists are trained to examine and treat children in a way that makes them relaxed and cooperative. In addition, pediatric anesthesiologists use equipment and facilities specifically designed for children.

What kind of training does a pediatric anesthesiologist receive?

In addition to the education and training that all anesthesiologists receive, pediatric anesthesiologists complete at least one additional year of specialized training in proper use of anesthesia in and care of infants and children.

  • at least four years of medical school
  • three years of residency in anesthesiology
  • one to three years of fellowship training in pediatric anesthesiology
  • certification from the American Board of Anesthesiology
  • Pediatric Anesthesia Board Certification

Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine | Contact Us

Contact the Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine