Frequently Asked Questions

What training has my anaesthetist had?

See Our Anaesthetists.

Are there separate fees associated with my anaesthetic?

See Fees page for more information.

What different types of anaesthesia are there?

Types of Anaesthesia (ASA)

How long must I fast for before surgery & why do I need to fast at all?

Fasting Guide.

Can I smoke before surgery?

Quitting smoking prior to surgery will decrease your chance of having complications. The longer the period of not smoking before surgery, the better it is for your health. Smoking has been shown to increase the risk of complications during and after surgery such as pneumonia, stroke, heart attack and surgical wound infection.

Should I take my regular medications on the day of my procedure?

Most of your usual medications can be taken on the day of your procedure with a small sip of water. However, some medications need to be stopped before certain procedures. You should have received advice about this prior to your procedure. If you are taking any of the following types of medication, you should find out IF and WHEN you need to cease the medication:
  • Blood thinners: usually surgeons will provide advice about this, as these medications can increase bleeding from anywhere that biopsies or incisions are made. Some of these medications need to be stopped anywhere from 3-10 days before your procedure so please contact your surgeon in advance. Your surgeon may also provide advice on whether a shorter acting blood thinner needs to be given while you are off your usual blood thinner.
  • Diabetic medications.
  • Insulin and insulin pumps: please contact your anaesthetist, GP, diabetes educator, endocrinologist or surgeon for advice.
  • “SGLT2 inhibitors” are newer diabetic medications that can cause serious problems if not stopped before surgery. Seek advice if you are on any of these medications that contain “SGLT2 inhibitors”: dapagliflozin (Forxiga), empagliflozin (Jardiance), ertugliflozin (Steglatro), Xigduo, Jardiamet, Segluromet, Glyxambi, Qtern, Steglujan. For surgery and procedures requiring one or more days in hospital, and/or requiring ‘bowel preparation’ including colonoscopy, you will need to cease your “SGLT2 inhibitor” at least 3 days pre-procedure (2 days prior to surgery and the day of surgery/procedure). For day-stay procedures (including gastroscopy), your “SGLT2 inhibitor” can be stopped just for the day of procedure. Fasting before and after the procedure should be minimised. You should seek advice as your other diabetic medications may need to be increased while you are off these medications.
  • Please wean opioid medications (pain killers) to the lowest dose possible prior to your procedure.
  • Herbal medications should be stopped 2 weeks prior to procedures

Is anaesthesia safe?

  • Each year, about 4 million Australians and New Zealanders have a procedure requiring anaesthesia
  • During a lifetime, most people in the first world will have at least one anaesthetic and many will need more
  • Most surgery would not be possible without some form of anaesthesia
  • Your anaesthetist will be a specialist doctor who has undergone many years of training
  • Australia and New Zealand are two of the safest places in the world to undergo anaesthesia

What are the risks of anaesthesia?

Australia and New Zealand are two of the safest places in the world to undergo anaesthesia. However, there are risks associated with anaesthesia. Similarly, there are risks associated with not going ahead with a procedure. Your anaesthetist will aim to make your risk profile as low as possible, and don’t forget there are things you can do to decrease your risk.

Queensland Health has a range of information sheets that detail the possible risks and complications of anaesthesia.

The chance of having a particular complication depends on your pre-existing medical conditions and the type of procedure you are having. Fortunately, complications that occur more commonly are minor and short-lived. Major complications are rare.

Please ask your anaesthetist about risks that are of particular concern to you. Remember, you can do this at any time and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Can I drive or do other important activities after an anaesthetic?

General anaesthesia and sedation may impair your motor skills and cognition. Even if you feel ‘normal’, to protect yourself and others, for 24 hours after your procedure:
  • DO NOT drive (you will not be covered by insurance if you have an accident)
  • DO NOT operate machinery (eg power tools, cooking)
  • DO NOT sign any legal documents or make important decisions
  • DO NOT drink alcohol or take any recreational drugs