Pre-operative Information

Preparing for Anaesthesia


Fasting prior to anaesthesia is very important. If your stomach is not empty, it is possible for vomit to come up and be inhaled, damaging the lungs, which can (rarely) be fatal. To ensure an empty stomach before the operation you will need to follow the specific fasting instructions from your surgeon or hospital. If you haven’t received specific instructions, then you can follow the below recommendations.

  • Withhold solids and milk for six hours before admission.
  • Withhold water for two hours before admission.
  • PRESCRIBED MEDICATIONS may be taken with a sip of water up to two hours before admission.


In some instances, we’ll need to discuss alternative plans to fasting with you. If you fall into one of the below categories, please discuss fasting with your Anaesthetist prior to surgery:

  • Patients with a Gastric band
  • Obstetric patients
  • Patients with stomach disorders

Fasting in Children

  • For children over six months of age having an elective procedure, breast milk or formula and limited solid food may be given up to six hours before admission. Clear fluids (no more than 3ml/kg/hr) may be given up to one hour prior to admission
  • For infants under six months of age having an elective procedure, formula may be given up to four hours, breast milk up to three hours and clear fluids (no more than 3ml/kg/hr) up to one hour prior to admission

Chewing Gum

This is primarily due to its risk as a foreign body rather than increased gastric content. Most anaesthetists prefer no chewing gum 6 hours before surgery.


Smokers are at increased risk of respiratory, cardiac, and wound-related complications following surgery. Please try to stop smoking before your anaesthetic – “every day makes a difference”.

It’s never too late for patients to stop smoking:

  • Quitting smoking for one day will lower carboxyhaemoglobin and nicotine levels and could be expected to improve tissue oxygen delivery.
  • Quitting smoking for as little as three weeks has been shown to improve wound healing.
  • Quitting smoking for six to eight weeks results in sputum volumes that are not increased compared to non-smokers, and improved lung function.

Immune function is significantly recovered by six months after quitting smoking.

Facial Hair

When you undergo a general anaesthetic, your anaesthetist will have to help you breathe. This is achieved initially by “mask-ventilation”. This is by placing a tight-fitting face mask over your face and applying positive pressure with a device to make you breath. A device is then inserted in your airway to connect you to a ventilator. The presence of a beard has been shown to double the number of critical incidents related to the above. It is safest to be clean shaven for an anaesthetic. Especially if you are overweight or have other risk factors (sleep apnoea, small jaw, short neck), or history of difficult intubation / ventilation. Even if you only trim your facial hair significantly, it will make the anaesthetic safer for you. The main area of concern is where a face mask will sit, so sideburns and hair on your neck are not a major concern.

Ceasing Medications

Most medications are well-tolerated in the perioperative period and do not interfere with anaesthesia.
 It is generally recommended to continue usual medications (exceptions below) up until, and including, the day of surgery.  
Supplements, herbal medications, and most vitamins should be discontinued 1–2 weeks before surgery. The specific ingredients of many of these agents are unknown, while some have shown to cause adverse events including bleeding. For example, it is known that the “3 Gs” (garlic, ginkgo, and ginseng) can inhibit platelet function.

If you take any of the following medication, or if you have a question on ceasing medications for your Anaesthetist, please complete the questionnaire and list all medications and list specific queries at the bottom of the form.

  • Diabetic Medication – especially SGLT inhibitors and Insulin
  • Blood Thinners 
  • Naltrexone or Suboxone

Feeling Unwell Before Surgery?

Across Australia, surgeries are cancelled every day due to a change in patient health.

In some cases, your illness may be related to the reason for your surgery. For example, you may be having severe chest pain due to coronary artery disease. If you are scheduled for open-heart surgery to improve that condition, it would likely go on as planned.

On the other hand, if you are diagnosed with a respiratory virus such as influenza or Covid-19 the day before an elective surgery, there’s a good chance it will need to be postponed.

Usually, your surgeon / anaesthetist will make a final decision on whether to move forward. They will consider factors such as how severe your illness is and what type of surgery you have planned.

When to Notify a Surgeon / Anaesthetist

If you are sick in the days/ weeks leading up to surgery, be sure to tell your surgeon and /or anaesthetist—and the sooner, the better. Only your surgeon/anaesthetist can decide if your symptoms are severe enough to lead to a delay.

If you need to contact your Anaesthetist, get in touch with us using the ‘I have an enquiry’ tab in the frequently asked questions below.

I have a question...

We are often asked about charges, and note the insurance and health care industry can be confusing. There are many different components of your care which potentially carry a charge.

The anaesthetists fee is separate than those of the surgeon and hospital or day surgery facility.

To read more about your anaesthetist’s fee, click here.

If you have a question about your bill, please send us a message and one of team members will respond to you shortly.

If you have a question about your bill, please send us a message and one of team members will respond to you shortly.

We’ve prepared information on ceasing medications here, however if you are unsure, please send us a message. If you have any specific medication queries please list them at the bottom of the questionnaire form.

Fasting is very important. Please read more information about preparing for anaesthesia including fasting here.

Most patients will receive an SMS invitation to complete their health questionnaire prior to surgery. If our team have asked you to complete a form on our website, please click here.

In most cases the first time you’ll meet your Anaesthetist will be on the day of your surgery. Some patients may require a consultation prior, and we’ll contact you directly if this is deemed necessary by your Anaesthetist. 

If you are unsure whether you need a consultation with your Anaesthetist, please send us a message with as much detail as possible.

If you still have a question that hasn’t been answered above, our preferred method of communication is by email. Please click here to send us a message, or call us.

If you have a question, please send us a message and one of team members will respond to you shortly.

Message Us

In order to respond to your enquiry in the most efficient way possible, please send us a message using our form below in the first instance. We aim to respond to all messages within 2 business days, and will prioritise patients with upcoming surgeries first. 

If your enquiry relates to fees, please check with your health fund first if your level of cover is adequate.

If you need to upload any documents (i.e. your list of medications) please add a file below:
Note: If your enquiry relates to fees, please check with your health fund first if your level of cover is adequate.
Please complete all fields. We are unable to provide an estimate of fees without all of this information. If you are Self-Funding, please note this in the “Health Fund” section

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