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Preparing for Surgery

There is no safer place in the world to have an anaesthetic than in Australia.”

Australian Society of Anaesthetists 2007


Preparation for Anaesthesia and Surgery

  • Stop smoking.
  • Certain drugs such as Clopidogrel (Iscover, Plavix), Warfarin, Aspirin and Anti Inflammatories may need to be ceased prior to surgery. Please discuss this with your surgeon
  • Heart and lung problems need to be stabilised prior to surgery. If you are concerned about these please contact your Surgeon or Anaesthetist.
  • Fasting – Food or fluid in the stomach may be vomited and could enter your lungs while you are unconscious. So as a general rule you are to have nothing to eat for at LEAST 6 hours prior to surgery. Clear fluids can be continued for up to 3 hours prior. Therefore please follow this schedule:
    • AM surgery – nothing to eat from midnight the night before.
    • PM surgery – a light breakfast before 7am on the day of surgery (tea & toast)

**Diabetics – Do not take diabetic tablets while you are fasting. The management of insulin routines is specialised so it is best to consult with your Anaesthetist.

Non-compliance with fasting may mean your procedure is postponed for your safety.


If you are taking medications for blood pressure or heart disease these should be continued with a sip of water. Morning medications on the day of the procedure should be taken before 6am. Asthma puffers – continue as normal. Heart burn or ulcer tablets – continue unless otherwise directed. Antacids (eg Mylanta, Gaviscon etc) – do NOT take for 12 hours before your procedure.

Bring your medications with you to hospital. On Your Day of Surgery

Your Anaesthetist will visit you to make certain it is safe to proceed with your anaesthetic. Your Anaesthetist will ask relevant questions regarding your health, the surgical procedure and the anaesthesia required. This is a good opportunity for you to ask any questions.

In the Operating Theatre

Your Anaesthetist will remain with you in the Operating Theatre for the entire duration of the procedure. He/she will administer the appropriate anaesthetic for your procedure, ensuring your safety while the operation proceeds and will supervise your recovery.

Going Home and Beyond

If you are having day surgery make sure that you have some one to take you home. Additionally you need to be in the company of another responsible person overnight. For the first 24 hours AFTER your day surgery you must not drive, drink alcohol, operate machinery, make important decisions or sign any legal documents.

What are the risks and side effects of anaesthesia??

Relatively common side effects include: drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, sore throat and hoarse voice(from a tube inserted while you are asleep to assist your breathing). There may be discomfort from your operation but your anaesthetist will coordinate your pain relief after the operation. Rarely, there can be serious complications such as allergic reactions to drugs, damage to teeth, heart attack, stroke, breathing difficulty and awareness during the operation. The risk of anaesthesia will to a large extent depend on your current state of health and the type of surgery. Rest assured that your Specialist Anaesthetist is among the best trained in the world to ensure your safety. If you would like to discuss this or any other  aspect of your anaesthetic with your Anaesthetist, please contact us. If you would like any further information please call our Administration staff so that they can put in you in contact with the appropriate Anaesthetist.