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.

Most people will need the care of an anaesthetist at some stage in their lives. We've created this video about preparing for your anaesthesia to help you feel more relaxed about having a surgical procedure under general anaesthesia.
Firstly, remember you’re in very safe hands. All anaesthetists in Australia and New Zealand are highly trained and accredited specialist doctors. And they'll be by your side throughout your operation, watching you closely and keeping you safe.

Every patient – and every operation – is different, which means your response to anaesthesia will be too. So there are a few things your anaesthetist will need to know about you before your operation:

  • Your general health and fitness.
  • Any existing health conditions or allergies.
  • Any medication you’re taking.
  • Any issues you or your family members may have had with anaesthesia in the past.
  • And anything else you do that might affect your anaesthesia 

The consultation with your anaesthetist prior to surgery is a good time for you to ask any questions. 

If you’re a smoker, your anaesthetist will probably ask you to give smoking a break - even quitting for a short period is helpful. The better you look after your body before your operation, the quicker it will recover.  

If for any reason you need to postpone your operation, please let your surgeon and anaesthetist know as soon as possible.

Your anaesthetist will give you specific instructions on when to stop eating and drinking before your surgery, because having undigested food in your system can cause serious complications.

Before you go into the operating theatre, your anaesthetist will have another conversation with you to check that you’re comfortable, and discuss any last minute questions.

You’ll also need to arrange for a family member or friend to pick you up after your surgery, because it won’t be safe for you to drive for at least 24 hours, as your reflexes take time to get back to normal.

A little bit of preparation before your anaesthesia can make a huge difference.

Please note: This information is a guide and should not replace information supplied by your anaesthetist. If you have any questions about your anaesthesia, please speak with your treating specialist.

Last updated 15:36 16.01.2023