The Surgical Team
When you have surgery, a team of medical staff helps the surgeon during the operation.
Who is on the team depends on the type of surgery. Most teams include the following
A surgeon has finished 4 years of medical school and 4 or more years of special training
after medical school. Most surgeons have passed exams for board certification. The
American Board of Surgery is the national group that gives this certification for
general surgery in the U.S. Some surgeons also have the letters FACS after their name.
This means they have approval of the Fellows of the American College of Surgeons (FACS).
An anesthesiologist has finished 4 years of medical school and 4 years of special
training in anesthesia. Anesthesiologists may get additional training in certain surgery
specialties. This might be neurosurgical anesthesia or cardiac anesthesia. The anesthesiologist
takes part in all 3 phases of surgery: before, during, and after.
Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
The nurse anesthetist gives you anesthesia care before, during, and after surgery
or labor and delivery. The nurse constantly watches every important function of your
body. He or she can change the anesthesia medicine to make sure you are safe and comfortable.
A nurse anesthetist has a bachelor's degree in nursing and at least one year of experience
as a registered nurse in a critical-care setting. He or she also has at least a master's
degree from a nurse anesthetist program. Nurse anesthetists must pass a national certification
exam to become CRNAs.
Operating room nurse or circulating nurse
Registered nurses are registered and licensed by each state to care for patients.
Some nurses focus on a certain field such as surgery. The operating room nurse helps
the surgeon during surgery. Operating room nurses are certified in various areas of
surgery. Nurses must pass an exam to be certified.
Surgical techs assist with the surgery by setting up a sterile operating room. They
get supplies and surgery tools ready. And they hand the surgeon the tools he or she
asks for. They must pass an exam to be certified by the National Board of Surgical
Residents or medical students
In many teaching hospitals, resident doctors in training and medical students may
be a part of the surgical team.
Physician assistants practice medicine under the supervision of a doctor. They may
act as an assistant to the surgeon. Or they may close incisions with stitches (sutures)
Medical device company representative
Sometimes surgeons will have a representative from a company that makes medical equipment
in the operating room. Such equipment might be artificial joints, spine stabilizers,
or pacemakers. The representative can help the surgeon with sizing and function of