About anaesthesia

Many of today’s operations, especially for the very young, very old or very ill would not be feasible without modern anaesthesia. 

Each year, more than four million Australians and New Zealanders will have an anaesthetic. In fact, most people will need the care of an anaesthetist at some stage in their lives – for pain relief during the birth of a baby, for a routine day-stay procedure or for a major operation requiring complex, split-second decisions that keep patients alive. But it's one of those things we don't really think about until we need it. We've created this information to help you feel more relaxed about having surgery under anaesthesia.

What is anaesthesia?

​There are several types of anaesthesia that may be used individually or in combination, depending on the operation.

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What does an anaesthetist do?

Anaesthetists are specialist doctors with unique clinical knowledge and skills. They have a major role in the perioperative care of surgical patients.

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Preparing for your operation

Having surgery under anaesthesia can be a bit daunting. Especially if it’s your first time. But there are a few simple things you can do  to get yourself better prepared for your surgery.

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Types of anaesthesia

There are several types of anaesthesia that may be used individually or in combination, depending on the surgery.

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Pain relief and having a baby

Labour is among the most painful human experiences.

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Anaesthesia and children

Anaesthesia is relatively safe and can be given to children of all ages, including newborn babies.

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Anaesthesia for endoscopy

Endoscopy procedures, which include gastroscopy and colonoscopy, are frequently performed as day-stay cases.

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Anaesthesia for eye surgery

Eye surgery can be performed under eye block, topical anaesthesia or general anaesthesia.

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Anaesthesia for cardiac surgery

Most adult heart surgery in Australia and New Zealand is performed for coronary artery disease and heart valve disease.

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Anaesthesia for joint surgery

Joint replacement surgery is a common and effective procedure for relieving disability due to severe joint pain and loss of function.

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Anaesthesia and cosmetic surgery

This information has been developed by accredited specialist anaesthetists to help anyone who is considering cosmetic surgery in Australia or New Zealand. It will help you to understand the risks associated with anaesthesia, and the key questions you should ask before having a cosmetic procedure.

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Anaesthesia and smoking

Smokers are at increased risk of respiratory, cardiac and wound-related complications following surgery.

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Last updated 09:06 30.06.2020