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Our surgeons use some of the most experienced anaesthetists in South Australia. Many of these anaesthetists will have worked with your surgeon for a long period of time and are familiar with all types of orthopaedic procedures. While we endeavour to provide as much information as possible in the lead up to your surgery, we encourage you to ask your doctor and anaesthetist questions at any time.

Pre-operative visit

Depending on factors such as age, overall health status, and the type of surgery to be performed, your doctor may arrange for you to see the anaesthetist prior to your hospital admission. This allows your anaesthetist to record a detailed medical history, conduct a physical examination, and order further tests if required, before your scheduled date for surgery.

Generally, your anaesthetist will see you in hospital the night before or on the day of surgery. He or she will discuss the type of anaesthetic to be used and the associated risks. Post-operative pain relief management will also be discussed at this time.

You will need to tell your anaesthetist about:

  • Your current health status and medications used (remember to bring these with you)
  • Previous surgical procedures and anaesthetic history
  • Reactions to medications or known allergies
  • Heart or lung problems
  • Dentures, caps or loose teeth


You will be fasting before the operation. This means no intake of food or fluids for specified number of hours before your operation. Your surgeon will let you know how long you need to fast. Fasting is done to prevent the accidental aspiration (inhalation) of vomited stomach contents into the lungs while under anaesthesia.

If you don’t fast, surgery may have to be cancelled and rescheduled.

Types of anaesthesia

For General Anaesthesia intravenous drugs are given via a needle into your arm. The anaesthetist will constantly monitor you during your operation and additional drugs / anaesthetic gases will be given to maintain your unconscious state. At the conclusion of your surgery you will be taken to recovery for further monitoring before returning to your room.

Depending on the area of the body to be operated on, regional anaesthesia can eliminate the need for a general anaesthetic. A drug is injected into a specific region and the surrounding area is numbed allowing surgery to take place. Sometimes a light sedation is given in combination with regional anaesthesia.

Intravenous sedation may be given to relax the patient prior to, or during a procedure. This type of sedation can induce a light sleep. You will be comfortable but easily roused if required, during the procedure.

An injection of local anaesthetic is used to numb the area for surgery. Many dental procedures are done under local anaesthetic. While you will be awake during the procedure you will not be aware of any pain or sensation in the immediate area.

Important facts to remember

  • Stop smoking: if not completely, then at least five weeks prior to surgery.
  • Cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Make a list of all your current medications and dosages.
  • Prepare a list of any known allergies or drug reactions.
  • Discuss blood transfusions with your surgeon and anaesthetist prior to surgery.
  • Prepare a list of questions to make sure you have all the information you need.
  • Make sure you have someone to drive you home and stay with you if you are having day surgery.