Frequently Asked Questions

Please view our many information sheets that we have written, which will explain the process of an anaesthetic and provide information specific to many common operations.

Will my anaesthetist be looking after me for the whole operation?

Yes. Your anaesthetist will be caring only for you from the start of the anaesthetic until you are in the care of the recovery nurses. He/she will be in the operating room for the entire procedure, providing one on one care and constantly watching your vital signs and maintaining a safe anaesthetic.

We will be assisted by an experienced anaesthetic nurse or technician. Once you are in recovery we will be available should further care be required.

Why can’t I eat or drink before an anaesthetic?

You will usually be instructed to avoid food and milk for six hours and clear fluids (water) for two hours before your operation. Eating even the smallest amount of food or fluid (even chewing gum or lollies) causes your stomach to start producing digestive acid which then may be vomited and could enter your lungs while you are unconscious, making you very unwell. This includes infants and children.

If you don’t follow this rule of fasting, the operation may be postponed in the interests of your safety. The hospital will advise you how long to fast. We do our best to make sure it is no longer than necessary. You may brush your teeth with a small amount of water. You do not need to over-fast, just follow the instructions given.

What are the risks of an anaesthetic?

The information sheets will go through common risks and complications.

Why is there so much waiting on the day of the operation?

There is usually a wait, even for day surgery. You will be also kept in for a few hours after to make sure you are OK. You are welcome to bring a book or tablet to pass the time.

Behind the scenes processes are occurring to prepare for your operation, such as getting the correct equipment ready, checking your blood pressure and medical history, confirming that you are fasting. Because patients are cared for on a one on one basis each operation takes as long as it takes.

We try our best to minimize waiting times, especially for children, but this is not a situation where speed and short cuts are appropriate. All involved in your care will appreciate your understanding and patience.

Will I be in a lot of pain?

It depends on what surgery is planned for you. Your anaesthetist will manage your pain during surgery, order pain medicines for hospital and also provide prescriptions for home.

Your anaesthetic consultation will involve advice on pain relief. During your anaesthetic we will include medication so that you do not wake up from your surgery in pain. Anaesthetists are specialist trained in pain management.

Do I take my medicines on the day of my operation?

If you are taking any regular medications please complete the questionnaire and forward to us so that we can advise you. If you are taking any naturopathic or homeopathic medications or supplements or Chinese medicine please stop them two weeks prior to your operation, we do not yet know how these medications interact with anaesthetic medications.

What do I do if I get sick or catch a cold?

Please make contact with your anaesthetist or surgeon prior to coming to the hospital.

Can I continue to smoke and drink alcohol right up to surgery?

No. there is an information sheet that will explain why even just cutting back can make your operation more successful and your anaesthetic safer.

Why can't I drive home after an anaesthetic?

Some anaesthetic medicines may stay in your system for a few hours. Even though you feel alert your driving reflexes are slower. Most insurance companies will not insure you for 24hrs after an operation.

Why is there an out of pocket cost for my anaesthetic?

Your anaesthetist is a highly trained medical specialist, like surgeons and physicians. Read more here.