Your Anaesthetic

The anaesthetic is an integral part of the procedure you’re to have. The vast majority of procedures require some form of anaesthetic, in fact it has often been said the greatest advance in surgery was the advent of safe anaesthesia. It literally is the Mother of Surgery! As well as providing optimal operating conditions, enabling the best possible outcome, the anaesthetic also protects your body from the destructive effects of stress and thus helps aid your recovery even in the post-operative period.

Australia is one of the safest countries in which to have an anaesthetic. Anaesthetists are highly trained Medical Specialists; exactly like surgeons, physicians, pathologists, radiologists, etc. After completing a Medical Degree and working for several years in a teaching hospital to gain base experience, application must be made to commence the competitive 5 year Specialist Anaesthetist Training Program.

The type of anaesthetic you require will generally be dictated by the type of procedure you’re having. Special surgical techniques and/or your underlining medical status may necessitate minor changes to this.

There are two main types of anaesthesia: General Anaesthesia (fully asleep) or Local Anaesthesia (numbing the nerves). They are often used in combination. Some local anaesthetic techniques can extend long into the post-operative period providing good pain relief. Sedation is a form of light general anaesthesia used for minimally painful, short procedures (eg: endoscopy). Children nearly always require a general anaesthetic for even the most minor of procedures.

Please read carefully the instructions of the hospital you’re to attend. Except for any regular medications you take, you must fast for 6 hours prior to your procedure (children and adults). This is for your own safety. If you’re not adequately fasted your procedure will be cancelled. For your regular medication, a mouthful of water up to 2 hours before your procedure is acceptable.

Some more common medical conditions require a special mention:

Diabetics: don’t take your tablets in the morning if fasting. If you take insulin consult your GP regarding how much to take whilst fasting (you will need much less).
Blood thinning medication: you must notify us of these.
Asthmatics: always carry your puffers with you.
Sleep apnoea: bring your CPAP mask if you’re to be admitted to hospital.

Also bring with you a list of your current medications; recent blood tests; reports of any heart, lung, kidney or blood vessel scans; sleep study reports. These are vital in helping to assess your suitability for undergoing certain anaesthetic and/or surgical techniques (particularly if you have any known serious medical conditions; including asthma, hypertension, sleep apnoea, etc.)

Anaesthetic complications still occur despite our best attempts to prevent them. Adverse side effects are not uncommon but thankfully they are minor and short lived. These include: nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, weakness, headache, sore throat, bruising and muscle aches. Damage to teeth and dental work is also uncommon but may occur particularly to pre-existing loose or compromised teeth. Serious complications also occur but are thankfully much rarer. These include severe allergic reactions (including anaphylaxis), heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, severe lung infections (pneumonia), injury to major nerves or blood vessels, and other disorders to major organs. A serious pre-existing medical condition (including smoking and obesity) increases your risk of a complication. “Awareness” under anaesthesia is rare but still occurs. Most cases occur in patients who are very ill to begin with or during critical emergency operations. The risk of a transmitted disease from contaminated blood is very rare owing to thorough screening protocols. Despite this we will only consider giving you a blood transfusion if your health would be compromised without it. All risks (anaesthetic and surgical) should be weighed against the benefit you hope to obtain from the procedure.

On admission to hospital you’ll be required to complete a questionnaire to assist in gathering important information for the pre-operative consultation. During that consultation we’ll discuss any aspects relevant to you and the procedure you’re to have plus the options available to you.

We look forward to seeing you soon at Corymbia House.

For additional information please see 'Frequently asked questions - Anaesthesia & you'.


© Copyright Corymbia House Pty Ltd

This website is best viewed in IE 6.5 or greater, Firefox and Safari