It’s safe to say the life of an anesthesia technologist is filled with a whole myriad of things we ordinary humans might not completely understand. Much like physicians, nurses and a whole host of other practitioners in the healthcare industry, the typical day in the life of an anesthesia technologist includes activities, equipment and terminology that is unique to their specific role on a medical team and would likely sound quite foreign to most of us. If you’ve been exploring the idea of a career in anesthesia technology, some of the more common terms you can expect to encounter in your research may sound more science fiction than medical science. The important thing is not to be intimidated by terminology. To help de-mystify the lingo, we’ve broken down some of the most common phrases you can expect to encounter in the world of anesthesia technology.


General anesthesia – The combination of drugs used to induce a state of reversible unconsciousness. General anesthesia can be administered via inhalation or injection and takes effect very quickly in 10-20 seconds. 

Regional anesthesia – Unlike general anesthesia which literally – puts you to sleep, regional anesthesia is the application of medication to anesthetize a specific region of the body, such as an arm or leg.

Induction – In general anesthesia, induction references the point in the process where a patient slips from a conscious to an unconscious state.

Intubate – Intubation is the placement of a flexible plastic tube in the trachea to protect and support the airway and allow for mechanical or artificial respiration. The procedure is typically performed while the patient is unconscious.

Endotracheal Tube – Primarily used during induction and intubation, this breathing tube is made of flexible plastic and inserted in a patient’s trachea to ensure the airway remains open and protected so air is able to reach the patient’s lungs.

Laryngeal Mask – The next step up from a tracheal tube, the Laryngeal mask, or LMA, forms an airtight seal on top of the glottis, allowing a secure airway to be managed by the healthcare professional.

Laryngoscope – The instrument used to open the throat and larynx, so that intubation is possible and painless. This ensures that there is air getting to a patients lungs when they are under anesthesia.

Halothane – There are a variety of inhaled anesthetics used in the induction and maintenance of anesthesia that have various effects and are used in a variety of circumstances. Halothane in particular is an inhales anesthetic that is often used on patients that are difficult to intubate.

Morphine – Morphine belongs to the opioid analgesic category of drugs and is used to supplement general anesthesia during and after surgery to control pain.

Catheter – A catheter is flexible tube made of rubber or plastic that is inserted into a vein or artery to deliver medications, fluids or remove fluids from the body.

This is just a small sampling of the terminology you can expect to encounter in the world of anesthesia technology. But when you’ve completed your education as an anesthesia technologist, you’ll be able to speak the language as well as anyone! It’s a fascinating field filled with people from all walks of life and new challenges every day! If you’d like to learn more about a career as an anesthesia technologist, check out the program at City College! City College is helping students get the hands-on training they need to join the exciting world of anesthesia technology. With experienced instructors and valuable externships where you’ll learn practical skills in real-world clinical environments, City College can help you turn your goals into a reality! Contact City College today and schedule a tour of one of our 2 campus locations offering the anesthesia technology program. City College, Real Careers for Real People.