Anesthesiology | UC Davis Health


UC Davis Health’s world-class anesthesiologists offer expert pain relief before, during and after many types of procedures and surgeries.

Medically reviewed by Matthew Malkin, M.D. on Nov. 14, 2023.

Male anesthesiologist adjusting an IV bag in an operating room 

Comprehensive Pain Management

At the UC Davis Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, our highly trained specialists take care of you, no matter what your health needs are.

Our anesthesiologists offer a complete range of pain management services for patients of all ages. Whether you have an injury, will be undergoing a heart procedure, are planning to give birth or have another medical concern, the UC Davis Health anesthesiology team can help.

Our Difference

Specialized Expertise

We have many different anesthesiology and pain management specialty areas. You can find a UC Davis Health anesthesiologist to support you for every type of health condition and concern.

Up-to-Date Technologies

We use the latest anesthesia techniques and drugs to manage pain and keep you safe. Our team works closely with your other providers to ensure you get the highest level of anesthesia care.

Leading-Edge Research

We work with other divisions and departments within UC Davis Health and beyond to perform medical research. Our innovative research leads to better care for all our patients.


What Is Anesthesiology?

Anesthesiology is the medical specialty that helps with pain relief during surgery and other medical procedures. Anesthesiologists use medications (anesthetics) to block nerve signals to stop you from feeling pain. Our role is to keep you pain-free and safe while under our care.

Our Anesthesiology Services:

Regional Anesthesia

We use regional anesthesia to numb a larger area of your body, such as your entire arm or everything below your waist. You may receive an epidural, spinal anesthesia or peripheral nerve block. In addition, we often use sedation to make you more comfortable. You remain conscious during regional anesthesia, so you will likely have some level of awareness and memory of your care.

Sedation (Monitored Anesthesia Care)

We often use sedation for minor procedures and surgeries, such as cardiac catheterization or a colonoscopy. We deliver pain-relieving medication through an IV to help you relax. During your procedure we work to give you the right balance of sleepiness, comfort and safety. Levels of sedation vary from awake to unconscious for short periods of time.

General Anesthesia

We use general anesthesia during major surgeries, such as brain, abdominal or heart surgery. We give you medications that make you lose consciousness and stay asleep — unable to feel any sensation — throughout the procedure. Our team may use additional medication or special equipment to support your breathing and other vital functions.


Our Specialty Areas

The Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine offers subspecialty care that focuses on specific health concerns. This ensures that you receive care that’s best for your individual situation.

Our anesthesiology and pain medicine specialties include:

Ambulatory Anesthesia

We use ambulatory anesthesia for procedures where you don’t need to stay overnight in the hospital. We offer general, local and regional anesthesia, as well as sedation, depending on what’s most appropriate for your medical needs.

Read about ambulatory anesthesia at UC Davis Health
Cardiac Anesthesia

We offer cardiac anesthesia for patients having heart (cardiac), lung (thoracic) or blood vessel (vascular) procedures. Our cardiac anesthesiologists have specialized training in monitoring heart function.

Learn more about our cardiac anesthesia services

We provide anesthesia for neurosurgical procedures, including aneurisms, brain tumors, cervical spine surgeries and traumatic brain injuries. We use both general anesthesia and sedation, as needed.

Find out more about our neuroanesthesia services
Obstetric Anesthesia

We provide anesthesia and pain-relieving medications (analgesia) to women who are pregnant or have just given birth. Our obstetric anesthesiology team is on call 24 hours a day.

Read more about our obstetric anesthesiology services
Pain Medicine

We collaborate with internists, psychologists, psychiatrists and physical therapists to provide advanced treatment options for patients with chronic pain.

Explore our Pain Management Clinic
Pediatric Anesthesia

We provide pain relief for your child before, during and after their procedure or surgery at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and other hospital sites. Our providers are available 24 hours a day.

Get more information on pediatric anesthesiology
Regional Anesthesia

We offer anesthesia to block pain in part of your body, such as your arms, legs or lower body, during medical procedures or to control pain afterwards. Our team specializes in figuring out the best type of regional anesthesia for your situation.

Read more about our regional anesthesia services
Trauma Anesthesia

Our specialists care for patients with all types of injuries. UC Davis Health trauma anesthesiologists are available for emergencies 24 hours a day.

Learn more about our trauma and acute care services
Preparing for Anesthesia

You may review screening questions and instructions with a nurse or physician from our Pre-Anesthesia Readiness and Education Program (PREP). Depending on your medical history and the procedure, you may have a phone call, virtual visit or in-person visit. If you have any questions or concerns, ask your provider for a consultation.

  • Man sitting at a table looking at a mobile tablet

    Before Your Procedure

    We will develop an anesthesia care plan with you before your procedure. You will need to follow specific, personalized instructions about fasting and taking medications. In most cases, you can drink clear fluids until just before you arrive for your appointment. We understand that restricting food and drink can be challenging, but following these guidelines lowers your risk of serious complications. 

  • Two health care providers looking at computer screen during procedure

    During Anesthesia

    Usually, a nurse will place an IV in your arm or hand in the preoperative area. Then, our team takes you to the procedure area. During your procedure, we use the IV to give you anesthesia and pain relief medications. You likely will not remember these events if you receive sedation or general anesthesia.

  • Female nurse checking the pulse of a male patient in a hospital bed

    After Your Procedure

    Your recovery may take several hours or longer if you had regional anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia. Our team takes you to a recovery room called the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU).

    We monitor you for pain, nausea or other side effects and address these problems if they arise. We also determine next steps for your care, such as discharge to go home or continued care in the hospital.

    Before we discharge you to go home, you must have a responsible adult with you. This person will accompany you home and care for you during the first 24 hours after anesthesia.

Recovery and Home Care After Anesthesia

We give you guidance about medications and when you can return to work, drive or do other activities. It’s normal to have trouble remembering these instructions right after your procedure, so having another responsible adult with you will be helpful. We give you a phone number to call anytime you have questions or concerns.

Continue Your Medications

We will review all current and recommended medications with you before you leave the hospital. Don’t drive or operate machinery until you are done taking opioid pain relievers like codeine, hydrocodone or oxycodone.

Rest and Drink Fluids

It’s normal to feel tired and “out of sorts” as you recover from anesthesia and your procedure. Stay hydrated and drink a little more liquids than usual for the first few days to help your recovery. Allow yourself to rest so your body can heal. If you don’t feel like eating, sip clear fluids like water, ginger ale or broth. Then, move on to bland foods like crackers as your appetite returns.

Keep All Follow-Up Appointments

Your surgeon may need to see you for a follow-up visit a few days or weeks after you go home. It’s important to keep this appointment so we can check on your recovery and well-being. If you have questions, call us anytime at the number we provided on your discharge paperwork.


When to Contact Your Provider

We’re here if you have any questions or concerns. Contact us immediately if you experience severe pain, bleeding from your incisions or signs of an infection.

Awards and Recognitions
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Ranked among the nation’s best hospitals

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A U.S. News & World Report best children’s hospital in diabetes & endocrinology, nephrology, and orthopedics*. (*Together with Shriners Children’s)

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Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital by U.S. News, and high-performing in COPD, colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, hip fracture, hip replacement, kidney failure, leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma, lung cancer surgery, ovarian cancer surgery, pneumonia, prostate cancer surgery, stroke, TAVR, uterine cancer surgery, gastroenterology & GI surgery, and orthopedics.

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The nation’s highest nursing honor

UC Davis Medical Center has received Magnet® recognition, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence.

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“Most Wired” for acute care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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“Most Wired” for ambulatory care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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World-class cancer care

One of ~56 U.S. cancer centers designated “comprehensive” by the National Cancer Institute.

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A leader in health care equality

For the 13th consecutive year, UC Davis Medical Center has been recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader by the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization.

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