Patient Information

What to expect on the day of your procedure

You will have a consultation beforehand to discuss your health, the method of anaesthesia, potential risks and any questions you may have about the anaesthetic process. Read more about the risks of anaesthesia

Your anaesthetist will be with you for the duration of your procedure and will work with nursing staff to manage your recovery, including medication for pain relief if necessary.

Limit what you eat and drink

Read below for the protocols that apply for adults, children and babies.

Cease or reduce smoking

The longer you go without smoking before surgery, the greater the likelihood of a smooth recovery.

Plan your trip home

Patients who expect to be discharged from hospital within 24 hours of their procedure should arrange for a responsible adult to escort them home and stay with them for 24 hours.

Generally, the protocols below apply for how much you should eat or drink before your surgery. However, please follow the instructions of your anaesthetist.


  • No food for six hours before the procedure.
  • You may have clear fluids such as water or apple juice until two hours before surgery (maximum of 200ml per hour).


  • A child or infant over 6 weeks should not consume cow’s milk for six hours, breast milk for four hours or clear fluids for two hours before surgery.
  • An infant under six weeks may have formula or breast milk up to four hours and clear fluids up to two hours before surgery.

Only medications ordered by the anaesthetist should be taken less than two hours prior to surgery. Please bring all your current medications with you to hospital.

For more on what to expect, refer to ANZCA’s website


About Anaesthesia

Your anaesthetist will aim to allow surgery to take place safely, without distress or discomfort, by administering medications to block pain or produce a state of unconsciousness.

Watch the TED Ed video,”How does anaesthesia work?” by Dr Stephen Zheng, below to learn more about how anaethesia works:

You and your anaesthetist will discuss the best method of anaesthesia for your procedure.

Different types of anaesthesia may be used individually or in combination, they include:

  • General Anaesthesia – creates a state of controlled and reversible unconsciousness, making you completely unaware of the procedure.
  • Sedation – temporarily reduces your level of consciousness so that you are relaxed but are potentially aware of your surroundings.
  • Regional Anaesthesia – involves the injection of a local anaesthetic drug around major nerves to numb the sensation to that part of the body, such as the arm or leg.
  • Local Anaesthesia – is administered via injection to numb the area of operation. It is generally used for minor procedures.