What is anaesthesia?

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

We've created this video about what an anaesthetist does and how general anaesthesia works, to help you feel more relaxed about having a surgical procedure under general anaesthesia.

The word anaesthesia is coined from two Greek words: "an" meaning "without" and "aesthesis" meaning "sensation", so it's no surprise that relieving pain and suffering is central to the practice of anaesthesia.

Despite an increase in the complexity of surgical operations, modern anaesthesia is relatively safe due to high standards of training that emphasise quality and safety.

In addition, there have been improvements in drugs and equipment. Increased support for research to improve anaesthesia has resulted in Australia and New Zealand having one of the best patient safety records in the world.

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 11:36 6.06.2023