To most people, an anaesthetic means that you are “asleep: There are several alternatives to a “General Anaesthetic” that can be used. Each anaesthetic is individually tailored to the type of procedure you will be having and to your specific needs.
What does your Anaesthetist do?
- Takes care of you while you are unconscious and unable to do so for yourself.
- Minimizes pain, discomfort and any psychological stress related to your procedure.
- Provides your surgeon with the very best operating conditions so that we can try to ensure the best possible result with your surgery.
Meeting your Anaesthetist
You will meet your Anaesthetist prior to the procedure. You may have had a prior appointment at his clinic. The Anaesthetist will examine your teeth, airway, heart and lungs.
They may ask you about:
- previous medical problems
- tablets or medications you are taking
- allergies and previous adverse reactions
- if you or a family member have had problems with previous anaesthetics
- smoking and drinking habits
- indigestion or gastric reflux
- previous dental work
- any problems with your neck
What type of anaesthetic will I have?
Current surgery anaesthesia provides rapid postoperative recovery so that you can be awake, comfortable and able to eat and drink without nausea as soon as possible after the procedure.
Sedation is given intravenously to relieve anxiety and help you relax during minor procedures and diagnostic tests. Your Anaesthetist administers the sedation and monitors your vital signs.You may have an oxygen mask on your face. You may be aware of your surroundings and hear the operating theatre team at work.
2. Local Anaesthetic
The are of the body undergoing surgery is made numb with an injection of local anaesthetic. Sedation may also be given. You are awake and aware of your surroundings. The local anaesthetic may last for several hours after the procedure, providing pain relief after you go home.
3. Regional Anaesthesia
Anaesthetists are specially trained to administer regional anaesthesia or “nerve blocks”, which are a safe and effective means of ensuring pain free surgery while avoiding the need for a general anaesthetic.
Local anaesthetic is injected close to the nerves to make the area numb. An arm, hand, leg, or eye can be made numb.
An epidural or spinal anaesthetic injection into the lower back can make the lower half of the body numb (although this type of anaesthetic is not often used for day case surgery).
A “nerve block” may be done for your comfort and may last for several hours after the procedure.
4. General Anaesthesia
You are asleep for the procedure and not aware of what is going on. This is what most people think of when they think of “an anaesthetic”.
The Anaesthetist give you an injection which puts you into a carefully controlled state of unconsciousness. The anaesthetist monitors your blood pressure, heart, oxygen levels and well being during surgery.
The depth of the anaesthetic can be adjusted to suit the requirements of the surgeon. Intravenous fluids and medication are given as needed.
Local anaesthetic may be injected at the incision site to numb the area so that when you wake, you will have lasting pain relief.
After the procedure
When the procedure has finished you will be taken to the first stage recovery room where a specially trained recovery room nurse will take over your care.
After a General Anaesthetic
Your Anaesthetist will “wake you up”. Your first recollection is usually of the first stage of recovery. You will stay here until you are safely awake. You will then be transferred to DSU or to Acute Ward, depending on length of stay for procedure recovery.
After a local anaesthetic and/or sedation
You should be ready to be discharged quite soon after your procedure.
You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure and someone to stay with you for the first post-operative night.