Preparing for Your Surgery


General

  • Physical fitness aids in recovery post-surgery. Undertaking regular exercise like walking or swimming for a few weeks prior to surgery is recommended to improve your fitness and reduce your recovery time.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption in the weeks prior to your surgery and avoid alcohol consumption the night prior to your operation.
  • Stop smoking ideally for at least 6 weeks prior to your surgery.
  • Stop taking any recreational drugs or herbal medications 4 weeks prior to your surgery.

Medical

  • Have a list of your allergies to medications.
  • Bring all of your medications with you to hospital.
  • If you use a CPAP machine for obstructive sleep apnoea, bring it to hospital with you (even if you are only coming for day surgery).
  • If you have a serious medical condition such as heart or lung or kidney disease, make sure you have had a recent check-up with your specialist.
  • If you have had a problem with an anaesthetic in the past please bring any details, including any letters, with you to hospital.
  • Bring all of your medications with you to hospital.

Fasting

Prior to anaesthesia it is important to follow the fasting times for solids and liquids given to you by your anaesthetist or the hospital.

  • Adults – no food for 6 hours prior to anaesthesia. Limited amounts (up to 200ml per hour) of clear fluids (e.g. water, black tea, black coffee, pulp-free apple juice) may be taken up to 2 hours prior to anaesthesia.
  • Children over 6 months of age – no breast milk, formula or solid food for 6 hours prior to anaesthesia. Clear fluids (e.g. water or pulp-free apple juice) may be given up to one hour prior to anaesthesia (no more than 3ml/kg/hour).
  • Infants under 6 months of age – formula may be given up to 4 hours, breast milk up to 3 hours and clear fluids (water or pulp-free apple juice) up to one hour prior to anaesthesia (no more than 3ml/kg/hour).

Medications

  • On the morning of your surgery you should take all of your regular prescribed medications with a small sip of water.
  • If you are taking blood thinners, medications for diabetes (including insulin) or blood pressure medications, please follow the instructions given to you by your anaesthetist or surgeon. If you are unsure, please do not hesitate to contact your anaesthetist.

What are the Risks of Anaesthesia?

While Australia is one of the safest nations in the world to have a general anaesthetic, receiving multiple medications and altering normal human body function carries risks of side effects and complications. Fortunately, these risks are rare or very rare.

Risks and side effects which are more common (still rare) and less severe include nausea and vomiting, damage to teeth and mild side effects to medications.

More serious risks and complications that are very rare include severe reactions to medications, serious heart and lung complications, awareness, and death. These more serious complications are often associated with emergency surgery in patients who are very unwell.

There are specific risks associated with different types of regional anaesthesia. These risks are associated with the injection of local anaesthetic and include bleeding, infection, and prolonged paresthesia and paralysis. These complications are all very rare.

If you are concerned about any of the above, please discuss them with your anaesthetist.

For more information regarding anaesthetic risk:
Risks and Complications (ANZCA)
Risks and benefits of regional anaesthesia (ASRA)