ASCs aren't immune to the anesthesia crisis. Here's what can be done.

Strong surgeon-anesthesiologist relationships are critical to ASC success.

Brett Shore, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at DISC Sports & Spine Center in Marina del Rey, Calif., connected with Becker's to discuss the anesthesia shortage's effect on the orthopedic industry. 

Note: This response has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dr. Brett Shore: As a practicing orthopedic surgeon who is married to an anesthesiologist (who is also the medical director of DISC Sports & Spine Center in Marina del Rey), I have unique insight into this topic. Thanks to advancements in pain management and regional anesthesia, a large percentage of orthopedic surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, much of it in ambulatory surgery centers throughout the country. ASCs function safely and efficiently when there are close internal working relationships between surgeons and anesthesiologists. An internal anesthesia group that is well-versed in protocols surrounding outpatient orthopedic surgery, and that is able to provide consistent, reliable regional anesthesia, is critical to running a successful ASC.

One of the challenges in operating an ASC is variability in case volume throughout the year (and even through the week). Because of the shortage of anesthesiologists nationwide, it can be difficult to fully staff these ASCs on a consistent basis, resulting in both unused operating rooms and delays in patient care.

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