What We do
Our primary role includes checking and assessing patients before any surgery and looking after you during and immediately after surgery. Before your surgery you will be screened, your case history will be studied in detail and discussed with you and you will also have any diagnostic investigations needed done. We then speak to you about your surgery and anaesthetic requirements for the surgery. You many require either,
- General anaesthesia
- Regional anaesthesia (such as epidural or spinal) or,
- Local anaesthesia (during an eye surgery, for example) and sedation.
We support all elective and emergency surgeries for all specialities and our services include,
- appropriate anaesthesia for the type of surgery, in the operating theatre
- pain relief (analgesia) during surgery and during recovery
- specialist pain advice and management as part of the Acute Pain Service
- epidural pain relief where necessary for delivery on the Labour Ward
- care of critically ill patients in Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) which takes calls for emergencies from all over the hospital- Accident & Emergency (A&E), Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
Types of Anaesthesia
Local anaesthesia is usually a one-time injection of medicine that numbs a small area of the body. It is used for minor procedures such as performing dental procedures, skin biopsy or breast biopsy, repairing broken bones or stitching deep cuts. The patient will be awake and alert and may feel some pressure, but no pain in the area being treated.
Regional anaesthesia is a type of pain management for surgery that numbs a large part of the body, such as from the waist down. The medication is delivered through an injection or small tube called a catheter and is used when a simple injection of local anaesthetic is not enough, and when it’s better for the patient to be awake.
Regional anaesthesia is very safe and doesn’t involve the potential complications and side effects that can happen with sedation and general anaesthesia. But it does carry some risks, and it’s important that it be provided and monitored by a physician anaesthesiologist.
This type of anaesthesia, including spinal blocks and epidurals, is often used for childbirth. In fact, an epidural is the most common type of pain control used for labor and delivery. It allows the mother to be awake, able to push when it’s time to deliver the baby but numbs the pain. Another type of regional anaesthesia — a spinal block — is stronger and is used during procedures such as caesarean deliveries, also known as C-sections. Spinal blocks and epidurals allow the doctor to surgically deliver the baby without causing pain to the mother, and without subjecting the baby to sedating drugs that might be harmful. This type of anaesthesia, including spinal blocks and epidurals, is often used for childbirth.
While there are many types and levels of anaesthesia — medication to keep you from feeling pain during surgery — general anaesthesia is most commonly used for major operations, such as knee and hip replacements, heart surgeries and many types of surgical procedures to treat cancer. Many of these surgeries are lifesaving or life-changing and would not be possible without general anaesthesia.
How does general anaesthesia work?
General anaesthesia is medicine that is administered by a physician anaesthesiologist through a mask or an IV placed in the vein. While the anaesthesia is working, you will be unconscious and many of your body’s functions will slow down or need help to work effectively. A tube may be placed in your throat to help you breathe. During surgery or the procedure, the physician anaesthesiologist will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and other vital signs to make sure they are normal and steady while you remain unconscious and free of pain.
During surgery, the physician anaesthesiologist will monitor your vital signs to make sure they are normal and steady while you remain unconscious and free of pain.
Once your surgery is complete, your physician anaesthesiologist will reverse the medication and be with you as you return to consciousness, continually monitoring your breathing, circulation and oxygen levels. Some patients feel fine as they wake up; others experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or chills. Your throat may be sore from the breathing tube. Your physician anaesthesiologist will help you manage these symptoms.
Because you’ve had major surgery, you probably will have pain and discomfort from the procedure as you recover, which might get worse as the effects of the general anaesthesia wear off. Your physician anaesthesiologist also will advise you about how to manage your pain during recovery in the hospital and at home.
If you are able to go home the day of surgery, you will not be able to drive after having general anaesthesia — so make sure someone can take you home. It may take a day or two for the anaesthesia medication to completely leave your system, so you may be sleepy, and your reflexes and judgment may be affected.