The following section answers some commonly asked questions. We recognise that undergoing anaesthesia and surgery is a worrying time for many people. If you do have a concern or question relating to your anaesthetic please contact the pre-operative assessment department at the Winterbourne Hospital so that we may provide you with information before you attend for your procedure.
Are anaesthetics safe?
Our practice is focused on minimising the risks associated with your anaesthetic and providing excellent pain relief.
Will I get a pre-med?
The term pre-med is used to describe any medicine given to you in preparation for your anaesthetic and surgery. In the past pre-meds often made patients very sleepy before and after the anaesthetic. Currently sedative premeds are not routinely given so that you can be awake and comfortable as soon as possible after the procedure. More commonly you may be given painkillers and anti-sickness medicines as a pre-med.
Can I drink before my anaesthetic?
The following is our policy on eating and drinking before your operation (this does not apply to procedures under local anaesthetic).
1. NO FOOD for SIX HOURS before operation; (chewing gum should not be used less than 2 hours preoperatively)
2. Clear fluids, up to TWO HOURS before operation, are encouraged.
Please Note: ‘Clear Fluids’ are those that can be seen through in a glass e.g. water, apple juice (which is ideal) or squash.
ALSO ACCEPTABLE: Tea and coffee without milk.
NOT ACCEPTABLE: Milk, fizzy drinks, fruit juice with pulp, Bovril
3. Regular medications, e.g. cardiovascular drugs, should be taken at the usual times and may be taken less than 2 hours pre-operatively.
The exceptions are:
Oral anti-diabetic drugs which should be omitted for one dose preoperatively.
ACE inhibitors ( e.g. Ramipril, Lisinopril) and Angiotensin-II converting enzyme inhibitors ( e.g. Candesartan, Losartan) should be omitted for TWO doses preoperatively.
4. Your anaesthetist or pre-operative assessment nurse may give you additional instructions.
Where will I go to sleep?
Anaesthetics are usually given in an anaesthetic room adjacent to the operating theatre, however, in some circumstances it may be necessary to administer the anaesthetic in the operating theatre itself.
Where will I wake up?
Most patients wake up in the recovery bay adjacent to the operating theatres. However if your procedure is very short you may remember waking up in theatre after its completion, as the anaesthetic will wear off very quickly. You will still go to the recovery area to make sure your condition is stable before returning to your room.
Why have I got a sore throat after my anaesthetic?
A sore throat is relatively common after a general anaesthetic. The mild discomfort usually settles within hours although it occasionally remains sore for a couple of days.
Will I be sick after my operation?
A small proportion of patients experience nausea or sickness after surgery. Some operations, anaesthetics and pain relieving drugs are more likely to cause sickness (nausea) than others. In addition some people are more prone to postoperative nausea and vomiting than others. Sickness can be treated with anti-sickness drugs (anti-emetics), but occasionally it may last from a few hours to several days. We routinely use prophylactic anti-emetics as part of our anaesthetic technique to reduce post-operative nausea and vomiting.
When can I eat and drink?
For most surgery that requires either a day or overnight stay in hospital, it is usual that you will able to have a light meal in the evening after surgery. In some cases your surgeon will ask you to remain ‘nil by mouth’ for a period of time after your surgery. If this is required intravenous fluids or a ‘drip’ will be provided to keep you hydrated.
How soon after my anaesthetic/sedation can I drive?
You should wait at least 48 hours before driving a car, operating machinery or making important decisions. If you require strong painkillers or have had intermediate or major surgery this period will be longer.