Anaesthesia and You
This is an anxious time so we would like to reassure patients that they are in good hands.
Anaesthetists in Australia are specialised doctors who are highly trained in administering anaesthesia, as well as pain control, resuscitation and managing any medical emergency.
Your anaesthetist will see you before your procedure, allowing you the opportunity to discuss any concerns. It is important that you disclose everything that you think is relevant and to also follow your medical and fasting instructions.
Your anaesthetist will monitor you during the procedure and after surgery is finished to ensure a smooth and trouble-free recovery. The development in new surgical techniques combined with modern anaesthesia results in a more rapid patient recovery – making day surgery preferable to overnight hospitalisation. The majority of ophthalmic surgery is now performed in a day surgery setting. The following is an explanation of the various options of anaesthesia that may be used in day surgery.
Topical Anaesthesia: Eye drops numb the surface of the eye. Sedative drugs may or may not be administered according to need. The patient is awake and recovery is quick.
Local Anaesthesia: A local anaesthesia is administered prior to surgery to cause numbness. You will be awake, but comfortable and not feel any pain.
Regional Anaesthesia: A nerve block numbs the part of your body where the surgeon operates and this avoids the use of general anaesthetic. Like the above methods, you will be awake but comfortable and not feel any pain.
Intravenous Sedation: To make things more pleasant during your stay, your anaesthetist may intravenously administer a drug to make you relaxed and drowsy. The advantage of the above methods of anaesthesia is that as soon as the operation is finished the patient is usually ready for something to eat and drink and discharge generally takes place within the hour.
General Anaesthesia: You are put into a state of unconsciousness for the duration of the operation. This is achieved by injecting a drug, or drugs, through a needle placed in the vein and is combined with a mixture of gases that you will breathe. The anaesthetist monitors your condition closely while you remain unaware of your surroundings. Recovery time will be longer with a general anaesthetic.
Although the drugs administered are given in the smallest effective doses, they may take a while to be eliminated from your body due to different rates of metabolism. It is therefore imperative that you do not drive, work machinery or sign important documents for 24 hours following the procedure.