Patient safety is our top priority

Compassionate Anesthesiology Care

We understand that having surgery or a procedure can be a stressful experience — we are here to provide excellent, personalized care to help you attain better health.

At Mount Auburn Hospital, our experienced anesthesiology team provides compassionate clinical care for your surgery or procedure, including labor and delivery.

Mount Auburn is a teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School. This means our clinicians are academically trained to provide the highest quality anesthesia care informed by the latest research, guidelines and technology — in a community-based setting that is compassionate, friendly and personal.

Anesthesiologists are specialist physicians with advanced training in assessing patients before surgery, administering anesthesia to keep patients comfortable and stable during surgery and monitoring patients after surgery. They are assisted by highly trained certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs).

Your anesthesia team will provide you with the highest quality care through their comprehensive training, focusing on pain control, clinical standards, patient safety and research. You can be sure that your comfort and safety during any procedure is our highest priority.

Types of Anesthesia

Your anesthesia team will choose the type of anesthesia you will receive based on your procedure, your physical status and the surgeon's preference. Your anesthesia team will discuss the plan with you and address your questions and concerns before proceeding. The three main types of anesthesia are described in detail below: General, Regional and Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC).

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia temporarily establishes an unconscious state so that your brain does not perceive any pain and you are not aware of your surgery. General anesthesia is most often initiated by injecting a drug intravenously prior to surgery. After you are unconscious, a breathing tube or airway device may be inserted into your mouth and windpipe to maintain adequate breathing. Several other medications are given through either the breathing tube or IV to keep you asleep and comfortable. Once the surgery or procedure is complete, the medication is stopped, and you will wake up as the anesthetic wears off. The breathing tube is removed and then you are taken to the post anesthesia care unit to recover before going to your hospital room or discharged home.

Regional Anesthesia (Spinal, Epidural, Peripheral Nerve Block)

The anesthesiologist injects a local anesthetic near a nerve or group of nerves to numb the area of your body that requires surgery. You may receive an intravenous sedative for the procedure.

Regional anesthesia (spinal or epidural) is used to eliminate pain in a larger part of the body by temporarily blocking large groups of nerves or the spinal cord so that the pain signal cannot reach the brain.

  • Spinal and Epidural Anesthesia: This type of anesthesia involves the injection of medication near your spinal cord through a needle in your back. This is done while you are sitting up or lying on your side.
    • Spinal Anesthesia: Spinal anesthesia is used for lower abdominal or lower extremity surgery. This type of anesthetic involves injecting a single dose of local anesthesia into the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord. The injection is made into the lower back and causes temporary numbness in the lower body. It is also used for Caesarean sections. Spinal anesthesia wears off in a few hours.
    • Epidural Anesthesia: Epidural anesthesia is like spinal anesthesia in that the medication is injected near your spinal cord. Epidurals are commonly used to provide pain relief during labor and childbirth but can also be used to provide pain relief after abdominal and thoracic surgery. This type of anesthesia involves continually infusing an anesthetic medication through a thin plastic catheter inserted in the back. Epidural anesthesia can provide pain relief for several days.
  • Peripheral Nerve Block: A peripheral nerve block is an injection of local anesthesia around a nerve or small group of nerves to block pain to the surgical area of the body. This nerve block causes temporary loss of sensation, numbness as well as long-acting pain relief to the affected area. This can be used as the sole anesthetic but is often used with other forms of anesthesia. Pain relief from nerve block usually lasts less than 24 hours.
Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC)

MAC refers to the administration of anesthesia drugs via IV to achieve sedation. The patient can be sedated to varying levels, ranging from simple relaxation to a state of unconsciousness. Because the level of sedation must be maintained and adjusted, the process is continuously monitored by an anesthesia professional. This type of anesthesia is often appropriate for minor procedures.

Areas We Offer Anesthesia Services

  • General surgery (including major pancreas and liver surgery)
  • Cardiac (CABG, valve repairs and replacements, TAVRs, structural heart procedures)
  • Thoracic surgery (open lung resections, VATS, mediastinal masses)
  • Vascular surgery (lower-extremity bypass, carotid and aortic aneurysm)
  • Orthopedics (total joint replacements, traumatic injuries, sports medicine)
  • Otolaryngology
  • Cancer surgery
  • Robotic surgery (urology, gynecology)
  • Podiatry
  • Plastic surgery
  • Gastroenterology (endoscopy and ERCPs)
  • Cardiology (EP ablations, TEE, cardioversions)
  • ECTs
  • Obstetrics

Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians, Inc. provides clinical staffing (anesthesiologists, certified registered nurse anesthetists) for our Anesthesiology Department.

Our Anesthesiology Experts

Aileen G. Starnbach, MD
Aileen G. Starnbach, MD Chief, Anesthesiology Specialty Anesthesiology
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Zachary S. Glicksman, MD Associate Chief Specialty Anesthesiology
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Ruma R. Bose, MD Specialty Anesthesiology
Rowland P. Wu, MD
Rowland P. Wu, MD Specialty Anesthesiology
Dezhen Zhang, MD
Dezhen Zhang, MD Specialty Anesthesiology
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Christine Maggs, CRNA
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Febie Manna, CRNA

Featured Location

Department of Anesthesiology Address Icon 330 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138