- 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
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?
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
If you have a procedure performed under a General Anaesthetic or Intraavenous Sedation, you MUST have a family member or support person to drive you home from hospital and stay with you for 24 hours after the procedure.
The anaesthetic drug will affect you for up to 24 hours, therefore, for the first 24 hours after surgery DO NOT:
- Drink Alcohol
- Sign any legal documents
- Drive a vehicle
- Operate heavy machinery