22 November 2019
Patient Information

What is Anaesthetics?

Anaesthetic drugs can be applied locally or generally. General anaesthesia means you will be unconscious during an operation; local anaesthesia numbs just a part of your body. Side effects of general anaesthesia include sickness, mild aches and impaired memory or judgement; the side effects of local anaesthesia include redness, bruising and drowsiness.

Before The Operation

If you are to undergo local anaesthetic, advise us if you have a cough or cold before the operation. You are free to eat and drink as normal prior to the procedure.

Patients undergoing general anaesthetic will require a pre-operative assessment, performed by a nurse. It is usually quite short, and looks at your past medical and drug history to ensure it is safe for you to go through the full procedure, whether it is scheduled as day surgery or a longer stay. We also believe it is very important to use this meeting to explain to you your treatment, anaesthetic requirements, and other procedures and processes (for instance how long you need to book off work or school) about which you may have questions.

General anaesthetics patients should not eat or drink before the operation. This includes chewing gum and cigarettes.

Take your usual medications, as directed by your anaesthetist (advice will differ depending on the agent which has been chosen in your case). Bring any medicines you may need to your hospital. (A bag with a change of clothes and a dressing gown are also useful to bring!)

Have a bath or shower and clean your teeth as normal.

Do not wear nail varnish or make-up.

Valuables should not be brought to the hospital – the Trust cannot accept liability for lost property.

At The Operation

You will have been given an arrival time. This is not your operation time, and you may be asked to wait for a short time. There will be a nurse in the waiting area to check your details, pulse and blood pressure, and to give you a gown to change into. Female patients should tell this nurse if they are pregnant or having their period.

At this time, you will also be asked to sign a consent form once your doctor has explained the operation to you and answered any questions. Your anaesthetist will also be on hand to provide a pre-operative assessment and make sure you are fit and ready. Once this has been determined, you will taken to surgery and have your anaesthetic, either local (drops, ointment) or general (injection).

After The Operation

The anaesthetics team will care for you in a post-operative care room, before you are taken back to the ward.

If you have had general anaesthetic, someone will need to pick you up when you are ready to go home, and stay with you for 24 hours (when you should not drive, operate equipment, drink alcohol or do anything which requires good judgement or coordination).

For further information about anaesthetics and you please visit the Royal College of Anaesthetists' patients' information site by clicking here.