Providing pain management in critical care, surgical, and non-surgical care settings
From minimizing pain during childbirth to monitoring your status before, during, and after surgery, the experts at MedStar Medical Group Anesthesiology are an integral part of your hospital care team. We offer you state-of-the-art care and customized pain management approaches that help you undergo procedures safely and comfortably.
We also provide acute pain service consultations and treatment plans for non-surgical patients who need pain management for various reasons. This service is available at all MedStar Health hospitals.
We prioritize your safety and comfort
MedStar Medical Group Anesthesiology is the exclusive anesthesia provider for MedStar Health. Our compassionate and highly experienced team of providers includes anesthesiologists, residents, certified nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), and certified anesthesiology assistants (CAAs).
Before your procedure, our providers partner with you to ensure you're well-prepared and know what to expect. Through our Pre-Anesthesia Testing department, we assess your readiness for surgery. We review your medical history, your concerns, your recovery goals, and your options, to customize the best anesthetic plan for you. We also work closely with the rest of your care team to determine the best pain management approach for you during and after your procedure.
Our team approach ensures the highest quality care
Because we work as a broadly coordinated team across all MedStar Health facilities, our anesthesiology providers are able to draw from a collective pool of deep experience and expertise. By working together, we're able to bring you the highest standards of care at all times and to leverage specialty expertise as needed when unusual situations arise. For each patient, our goal is your ultimate comfort and safety.
Our anesthesiologists also have expertise in specialty areas of anesthesiology, including cardiac, obstetric, neurologic, orthopedic, pediatric, regional, and transplant anesthesia. Some providers are also dual trained in anesthesiology and critical care medicine. As a result, we are able to bring an exceptional level of expertise to your care team for even the most challenging cases.
The type of anesthesia you receive depends on your general health and the type of procedure.
General anesthesia is most commonly used to keep you safe and pain-free during major operations that require you to be unconscious.
Sedation is used to make you more comfortable and relaxed during minimally invasive procedures, such as biopsies.
Regional anesthesia is used to numb a large part of the body to keep you comfortable during procedures such as childbirth or orthopedic surgery.
Local anesthetics are one-time injections given to numb a small area of the body for procedures such as a skin biopsy or stitches.
Featured treatments and services
- Extensive pre-anesthesia evaluation and preparation program, incorporating telehealth as possible, to optimize patient safety and convenience
- Anesthesia programs for highly complex cases, including cardiac and transplant patients
- Bloodless medicine and ERAS (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery) protocols that help to decrease recovery time, minimize risks, and reduce side effects such as nausea
- Advanced types of pain management that minimize opioids, including perineural catheters and continuous IV infusions, for managing pain postoperatively and for non-surgical patients
9000 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237
5601 Loch Raven Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21239
3001 S. Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225
201 E. University Parkway
South Building, Suite 226
Baltimore, MD 21218
MedStar Surgery Center at Timonium2118 Greenspring Drive
Timonium, MD 21093
18101 Prince Philip Drive
Olney, MD 20832
7503 Surratt’s Drive
Clinton, Maryland 20735
PO Box 527
41441 Knight Road
Leonardtown, MD 20650
3800 Reservoir Road, NW
Lower Level CCC Building, Suite CL-60
Washington, DC 20007
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
110 Irving St., NW, G-226
Washington, D.C. 20010
Who will be part of my anesthesia team?
When you receive care at MedStar Health, you can expect to work with a compassionate team of providers that may include:
- Anesthesiologist: A doctor specially trained to keep you safe and comfortable before, during, and after medical and surgical procedures using anesthetics.
- Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant: A highly skilled provider trained to provide anesthesia under the direct supervision of an anesthesiologist.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist: An advanced practice clinician who is certified to administer anesthesia and care for patients recovering from anesthesia under the direction of an anesthesiologist.
- Registered Nurse: A health professional trained to care for all ill or injured patients.
- Surgeon: A doctor specially trained to operate on patients.
When should I stop eating and drinking?
To keep you safe, there are specific instructions about when to stop eating and drinking. Your care team will advise you on when to stop eating or drinking before a procedure to ensure a safe procedure and prevent nausea. The following are general guidelines for adults over the age of 18:
Solid foods: You may eat solid foods up to eight hours before your scheduled arrival time for your procedure.
Once you are eight hours away from your arrival time, please refrain from eating food or consuming alcoholic beverages, milk, or dairy products.
- Non-clear liquids: You may drink non-clear liquids up to six hours before your scheduled arrival time. Non-clear liquids include:
Clear liquids: Staying hydrated is important, so you can—and should—drink clear liquids up two hours before your scheduled arrival time. Clear, “see-through” liquids include:
Clear fruit juice such as apple juice
Plain tea or black coffee (without milk or creamer)
Electrolyte-replenishing drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade
Here is a sample schedule of when to stop eating and drinking, based on your scheduled arrival time.
Stop Solid Foods at
Stop Non-clear Liquids at
Drink Clear Liquids Until
Guidelines for pediatric patients (ages newborn-18 years)
Pediatric patients should follow the above guidelines, as well as the following recommendations:
- Formula: Infant formula may be consumed up to six hours before their scheduled arrival time.
- Breast milk: Breast milk may be consumed up to four hours prior to arrival.
Please note that some surgeries may or may not require you to fast. Please discuss during your preoperative evaluation whether or not the above NPO guidelines should be modified if you have any of the following conditions:
- Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 40
- Chronic narcotic use
- Diabetes Mellitus with neuropathy
- End-stage renal disease on haemodialysis
- Hiatal hernia
- History of difficult airway
- Ileus or bowel obstruction
- Pregnancy (past 12 weeks)
- Severe gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Be sure to follow the instructions from your surgeon or anesthesia care team. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in delay or cancellation of the procedure.
- Solid foods: You may eat solid foods up to eight hours before your scheduled arrival time for your procedure.
What medications can I take before surgery?
Typically, your provider will either advise you to continue taking your regular medications. However, you may be instructed to change your medication schedule or STOP taking certain medications, depending on your procedure and medical history. Talk to your anesthesia provider about the following medications:
- Blood pressure medications: If you are on blood pressure medications, talk to your doctor about whether or not you should take a dose the night before surgery. When you receive anesthesia, your anesthesiologist or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist will monitor your blood pressure before, during, and after surgery and will deliver more medication through your IV, if you need it.
- Diabetes medications: If you take pills for diabetes, your doctor will likely recommend that you take the evening dose the night before surgery but refrain from taking the morning dose on the day of your procedure. If you are on insulin, talk to your doctor about lowering your dose on the morning of the surgery. When you arrive for surgery, let your care team know that you are diabetic. They will monitor your blood sugar to ensure it remains at a safe level.
- Blood thinning medications (anticoagulants, aspirin): If you take medication to prevent blood from clotting, your anesthesia care team will advise you to discontinue the medication a few days before surgery. If you take aspirin, your doctor and anesthesia team will discuss with you whether you should stop or continue taking it before your surgery.
How will my pain be managed during my surgery?
Prior to your procedure, your care team will determine the best type of anesthesia to manage your pain while preparing you for a safe recovery. Our anesthesiologists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are experts in a variety of pain-relieving techniques, so you don’t feel any pain during your surgery.
Will I wake up during my procedure?
- If you are receiving general anesthesia, you are most likely going to be unconscious for your entire procedure. You will be unaware of what's happening, and you won't remember anything afterward.
- Waking up during surgery is highly unlikely, occurring in only one of every 1,000 medical procedures involving general anesthesia. Your anesthesiologist and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist will help reduce your risk of awareness by thoroughly reviewing your medical history, including:
- Previous problems with anesthesia
- Medications you are taking
- Concerns you have
- History of drug or alcohol use
We also can monitor how "awake" or "asleep" you are with an innovative technology called Bispectral Index or BIS monitor. The BIS monitor enables our anesthesiologists to provide just the right amount of anesthesia so that you can awake faster after surgery with less chance of nausea and grogginess.
BIS monitoring is non-invasive, which means there are no catheters or needles required. A BIS sensor—a long adhesive strip with a tab at one end—is placed on your forehead. Then the sensor is connected through a cable to a monitor. Together, the sensor and monitor measure your brain activity and compute a number that correlates with your level of consciousness.
How long does it take until I wake up after my procedure if I undergo general anesthesia?
This varies from person-to-person, but patients are able to recover much more quickly and safely today thanks to innovative technology and pain management techniques.
What if I have pain after my surgery?
Prior to your surgery, your care team will talk with you about a postoperative plan to manage your pain. While you will have discomfort following your procedure, our anesthesia providers are experts in helping patients recover quickly and safely with minimal pain.
Your anesthesia team will use a variety of techniques before surgery to proactively minimize your pain before your procedure. Following your surgery, you can expect the same care and attention to relieving your pain as your anesthesia team works to minimize opioid use when possible.
Your anesthesiologist may use one or more of the following pain management techniques after surgery:
- Epidural anesthesia: Your anesthesia provider will place a thin tube, called a catheter, in your back. The tube remains there throughout the procedure so your care team can deliver medicine through the catheter as you need it. Following surgery, you will continue to receive pain relief medication through the catheter.
- Nerve blocks: Medication is injected around large nerve groups to reduce pain in a specific area of the body.
- Opioid medications: Pills taken orally to manage pain.
Research and education
Research and innovation
- MedStar Medical Group Anesthesiology is part of a national cohort studying post-surgical infection prevention in surgical patients. We are at the forefront of infection prevention during surgery.
- The cardiac anesthesia team is participating in a study of blood pressure management during cardio-pulmonary bypass surgery to ensure the highest levels of safety.
- The Georgetown Anesthesia Residency Program is part of MedStar Medical Group Anesthesiology. Many of our clinicians and residents-in-training present at our annual national conferences each year on the latest innovations and advances in anesthesia medical care.