Summit Orthopedics Takes A Specialized Approach To Surgical Anesthesia Protocols

Do you know that anesthesia protocols vary from one surgery setting to the next? Dr. Doug Dubbink explains how specialized Summit protocols improve the surgical experience.

anesthesia protocols

Every area of medicine is divided into specialties. Like physicians and surgeons, anesthesiologists also specialize in different types of surgery. Dr. Doug Dubbink, the lead anesthesiologist with Summit Orthopedics, discusses different specialties in anesthesiology and explains the importance of anesthesia protocols. He used his own expertise in orthopedic anesthesiology to develop Summit’s surgical protocols. His priorities? Patient safety and the highest quality of surgical experience.

Different surgical subspecialties have different anesthesia needs.

Medicine is characterized by specialties. If you have a heart condition, you consult a cardiologist. When your children need medical care, you see a pediatrician. Like physicians and surgeons, anesthesiologists also specialize in particular areas of medicine.

“Anesthesiologists have specialties just like physicians and surgeons,” explains Dr. Dubbink. “Cardiac anesthesia, as an example, is recognized as a specialized subdiscipline. Surgical cardiac patients have very specific anesthesia protocols and pathways. Pediatrics is another area of anesthesiology where specialization is important. Taking care of a brand-new neonatal patient who is 800 grams in weight requires a very specific set of skills. Some anesthesiologists do a yearlong fellowship in pediatric anesthesia to learn how to do pediatric hearts—that is a focused discipline in itself.”

Orthopedic patients benefit from tailored anesthesia protocols.

Dr. Dubbink focused his own practice in orthopedic anesthesiology. “My orthopedic subspecialty marries my interests in anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology,” he explains. “Orthopedics uses anatomy knowledge to direct physiologic changes while keeping the patient safe. Orthopedic patients have a unique set of needs. It’s my job to keep patients safe and their pain, nausea, and urine retention under control, while minimizing sedation when the procedure is finished.”

The process is more complex than it may sound. An orthopedic anesthesiologist needs information from the patient’s preoperative evaluation to tailor the anesthesia experience during surgery. Lines of communication aren’t always clear between the provider doing the evaluation and the anesthesiologist. “There has been a historical wall between the preoperative evaluation and the intraoperative episode,” explains Dr. Dubbink. “Internists and family physicians do the best they can to get patients ready for surgery. Still, there is sometimes a disconnect between the information I need to guide the surgical experience and the scope of the evaluation that’s been done.”

Summit offers specialized orthopedic surgical care.

For Summit surgical patients, Dr. Dubbink developed a clear communication path between evaluating physicians and the surgical teams. “Our anesthesiologists have an open dialogue with evaluating physicians,” Dr. Dubbink explains. “Surgery is stressful for patients. A spine or total joint patient may get a lot of fluid. They may have some blood loss, and could experience surgical issues. I want to know on the day of surgery that my patient is healthy enough to withstand these stresses. How can I know that? By ensuring that my patients have received the labs and evaluations they need.”

Dr. Dubbink’s surgical model eliminates the “wall” between evaluating physicians and surgical team to improve patient safety. “At Summit,” says Dr. Dubbink, “our ultimate goal is to deliver the best possible outcome for our patients. The national recognition our surgery centers have received speaks to our success.”

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  • Douglas A. Dubbink, M.D.

    “My goal is to improve my patient’s surgical experience. I strive to provide calm gentle reassurance for patients who are anxious about anesthesia and ensure that every patient is skillfully cared for throughout their entire procedure. When a patient awakens after surgery and openly wonders why they were so nervous previously, I know I’ve done my job.”

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