Firstly, remember you’re in very safe hands. All anaesthetists in Australia are highly trained and accredited specialist doctors and they’ll be by your side throughout your operation, watching you closely and keeping you safe.
Your anaesthetist will see you before your operation. This may be done on the ward or even within the operating theatre suite depending on your admission time to hospital and the timing of the surgical list. You will be asked a number of questions to establish the state of your general health in order to formulate an appropriate anaesthetic plan for you.
The type of questions you will be asked include the following major categories:
- Medical conditions
- Serious illnesses
- Previous anaesthetics
- Family history
- Alcohol consumption
Your anaesthetist will be delighted to answer any questions for you at this time.
When you get to the operating theatre it is normal practice to place a small plastic tube into a vein, called a cannula, so that anaesthetic drugs can be injected into the bloodstream. Monitoring will also be placed before you go to sleep and this will include an ECG, blood pressure cuff and a probe on your finger to measure your oxygen level. You will usually receive drugs via the cannula to put you to sleep and then breathe anaesthetic gases which will keep you asleep. A breathing tube may be put into your airway to help your breathing while you are anaesthetised. The breathing tube will be removed as you wake up. Appropriate pain relief drugs will be given intraoperatively so that they are already working when you wake up.
After the surgery is completed you will be transferred to the recovery ward. The nursing staff will keep you warm, measure your blood pressure and give any prescribed medications before you are returned to the ward. The anaesthetist will ensure you have adequate pain relief and a plan for pain management after the operation.
The anaesthetic may temporarily affect your judgement. For 24 hours after your anaesthetic, you must not drive a car, operate machinery, climb ladders, sign legal documents or other similar activities.