Office-based anesthesia: an overview

Anesthesiol Clin North Am. 2003 Jun;21(2):417-43. doi: 10.1016/s0889-8537(02)00079-2.


Office-based anesthesia, like other specific forms of anesthesia practice, has many unique attributes. Better work hours and a closer working relationship with surgeons and patients can provide the forum for a considerable amount of professional resonance. Moreover, the itinerant nature of the practice, the limited resources, and the need to innovate on the spur of the moment can make for variety and excitement. The gamut of anesthesia techniques, patient comorbidities, and surgeon expectations does not necessarily produce a facile experience, of course. But no specific anesthesia specialty or venue is devoid of challenge. While OBA is different from other types of anesthesia practice, this distinction does not necessarily make it superior or inferior. The political climate has improved, with more states acknowledging the status of OBS and OBA. This may force those OBA providers who routinely practice without regard to practical and appropriate industry standards out of business. AAAHC accreditation of an OBA practice may serve as a confidence-inspiring indication to patients that nationwide peer-reviewed standards are being met. However, everyone involved must recognize that accreditation is not a substitute for the sound application of clinical knowledge and expertise, as well as the collection and assessment of quality assurance data. It is inappropriate to view each OBS client as a minihospital. Although this may seem a simpler business model, the business and legal issues can be far more complex than those found in more traditional locales. A meld between business-person and clinician is becoming more a rule than an exception, and efforts to maintain and promote professional sovereignty will help forge continued growth of this unique form of anesthesiology practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures* / economics
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures* / standards
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Anesthesia* / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia* / economics
  • Anesthesia* / standards
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Medical
  • United States