What is Anaesthesia?

Anaesthesia is the absence of pain sensation in either any or all parts of the body. In a general anaesthetic, consciousness is lost and you go to “sleep”. In a local or regional anaesthetic, only a part of your body goes numb e.g. arm or legs.

The drugs used in anaesthesia can affect other body functions, so you will be reassured to know your anaesthetist will be present throughout your entire operation to take care of you.

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What is an Anaesthetist?

The anaesthetist is the doctor who will administer your anaesthetic. After completing the medical course and basic hospital training, an anaesthetist spends many years undergoing specialist training, gaining knowledge and skills in the speciality of anaesthesia.

Your anaesthetist is a specialist just like other specialists you may have seen, such as your surgeon or physician, and works as part of a team looking after you. While the surgeon is operating on one part of the body, the anaesthetist is looking after the rest of you.

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What are the Risks?

No anaesthetic is without risk but most patients do not suffer anaesthetic complications. When they do occur, complications vary from the mild and inconvenient (headache, nausea, sore throat, hoarse voice, drip site bruising) to the severe but very rare, such as major allergic reactions.

One of the purposes of the pre-anaesthetic consultation is to provide an opportunity for the discussion of risks and complications. This is an ideal time for you to ask any questions about your anaesthetic. This opportunity may not arise before emergency procedures.

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What Happens Before the Operation?

Most patients can be seen in the hospital on the day of operation for the pre-anaesthetic consultation. However, you are asked to contact Geelong Anaesthetic Group if you have any problems related to previous anaesthetics or to your health. This is so a pre-anaesthetic in-rooms consultation can be arranged prior to admission to hospital.

If you have significant medical problems and/or undergoing major procedures (eg. joint replacements) you may be requested by the anaesthetist to attend a pre-anaesthetic assessment in our rooms prior to the day of your procedure.

In this instance, you will be contacted by our secretarial staff to set up an appointment. You are requested to bring with you a list of current medications and results of any relevant medical investigations.

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Fasting Times

Appropriate fasting before your procedure from food and fluids is essential for safe anaesthesia.

Adults & Children

No food, milk, lollies, alcohol or non-clear fluids for 6 hours before anaesthesia. A light meal may be consumed no closer than 6 hours before planned anaesthesia.

Clear fluids (water, cordials, apple juice, black tea or coffee [no milk]) can be taken up until 2 hours prior to anaesthesia.

All oral medications should be continued (with some water) into the fasting period unless otherwise advised.

Breast feeding is permitted up until 4 hours prior to anaesthesia in infants <12 months of age.

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What Happens During the Operation?

When you are taken to the operating theatre, your anaesthetist will insert an intravenous drip, with an injection, often in the back of the hand. Anaesthesia is usually started with medicines given via the drip.

Your anaesthetist will be responsible during your operation for constantly watching over your breathing, pulse and blood pressure, and supporting and controlling these as necessary. By careful administration of the anaesthetic drugs, the anaesthetist will safely control your waking up and recovery.

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What Anaesthetic Drugs are Used?

During your anaesthetic you may be given many different drugs, each at a particular time during the operation, and each for a specific purpose. Some drugs are injected into a vein and others are breathed as gases along with oxygen.

Your anaesthetist is a highly trained expert in the use of these drugs and will choose the most appropriate for you after consideration of your health and the operation you are having.

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What Happens After the Operation?

After the operation is over you will be taken to a special area, called the Recovery room, close to the operating theatre and staffed by nurses specially trained to look after anaesthetised patients who are waking.

Your anaesthetist is still responsible for your general condition whilst you are in the recovery area. If you have any pain after you wake up, you can be reassured your anaesthetist will arrange for post-op medications to make you more comfortable.

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Costs of Anaesthesia

The fees charged for anaesthetic administration by specialist anaesthetists in the Geelong Anaesthetic Group are individually assessed and are based on the complexity of the anaesthetic procedure and the time taken for the anaesthetic.

These are the fees charged by most anaesthetists in Australia. Doctors in the Geelong Anaesthetic Group do not bulk bill.

For more detailed information, go to Fees.

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We welcome all feedback, both positive and negative via our feedback section and have a formal complaints process.

Alternatively, patients and others are entitled to register a complaint with the Victorian Health Services Commissioner regarding health issues:

The Health Services Commissioner
Level 30, 570 Bourke Street
Melbourne  VIC 3000
Tel:     03 8601-5200
1800 136 066
Fax:    03 8601-5219


Further Information

Please see the links suggested or call the Geelong Anaesthetic Group


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