Anaesthetists in Australia are specialised, highly-trained doctors expert at administering pain management drugs as well as managing resuscitation and other medical emergencies.
New surgical techniques combined with modern anaesthesia means that the majority of ear, eye, nose, throat and facial surgeries are now performed during day surgery, which is preferable to overnight hospitalisation.
Various types of anaesthesia are commonly used in day surgery, including:
Topical anaesthesia covers a small surface area only and may or may not include sedative drugs. The patient remains awake and recovery is fast.
Local anaesthesia causes numbness to a larger area than topical anaesthesis. The patient remains awake but comfortable, and doesn’t feel any pain.
Regional anaesthesia involves a nerve block to numb a particular part of the body, avoiding the need for general anaesthetic. Similar to the above methods, the patients is awake but comfortable.
To make things more pleasant for the patient, an anaesthetist may intravenously administer sedations drugs. The patient feels very relaxed and a little drowsy. Advantages of intravenous sedation includes fast recovery times, with discharge typically within an hour.
General anaesthetic puts the patient into a state of unconsciousness for the duration of their operation. Anaesthesia drugs are injected through a needle placed in the vein and this is combined with a mixture of gases for inhalation. The anaesthetist monitors the patient’s condition closely throughout the procedure. Recovery time is longer with a general anaesthetic.
Possible risks of anaesthetic
You can ask your anaesthetist any questions and air any concerns before your procedure. It’s important that you disclose any information that may be relevant and to follow your medical and fasting instructions. Your anaesthetist will monitor you throughout your procedure as well as afterwards to ensure your smooth recovery.
Anaesthetic drugs are given in the smallest effective doses, however they may take a while to be eliminated from your body due to different rates of metabolism. Even if you feel fully recovered, it is imperative that you do not drive, operate machinery or sign important documents for 24 hours following your procedure.