Information from Staplegrove Anaesthetists & Nuffield Hospital Taunton


In the near future you will be coming into The Nuffield Hospital Taunton for an operation. We look forward to meeting with you and discussing your type of anaesthetic. We felt that you should be aware of some matters relating to your anaesthetic before your admission to hospital.

When will I meet ‘my’ Anaesthetist?

You will always meet your anaesthetist, on the ward, on the day of (or occasionally the night before) your operation.

The anaesthetist will;

  • review your medical history, records and test results – all for your safety;
  • plan your ‘anaesthetic’ and ‘pain relief’options based upon your medical history and operation;
  • identify any potential risks relevant to you personally and discuss these with you ;
  • answer any questions or concerns you may have;
  • get your verbalconsent that you agree to proceed with the proposed plan.

What are these Anaesthetic options?

The type of anaesthetic varies from ‘individual to individual’ and ‘operation to operation’. The options available will be discussed by your anaesthetist, and together you will agree an anaesthetic plan.

There are two main options;

(1) General Anaesthetic (GA), which renders the patient unconscious (= GA).

Anaesthetists use a mixture of many different drugs, to keep the patient unconsciousness during surgery, but awake and pain free soon after. You will not be awake or aware at any time during your operation. At all times, during this process you are closely monitored.

(2) Local Anaesthetic (LA) and Regional Anaesthetic , which renders part of the body temporarily ‘numb’, comfortable and pain free. There are many different options and these will be discussed with you by your anaesthetist, but will vary from ‘individual to individual’ and ‘operation to operation’ (not all operations are suitable). Examples include;

– Local anaesthetic is injected to make a part of the body numb eg a patch of skin, a finger/toe, hand/foot, even an arm or leg.

– Regional anaesthetics, eg spinals and epidurals, are increasingly common and popular with patients. Both require an injection between the bones of the back to ‘numb’ the nerves, which supply large regions of the body eg from the ‘chest’ down.

The spinal is a single injection, whilst with an epidural a small tube can be left in the back so that local anaesthetic can be continued for days after the operation giving post operative pain relief. Both are useful and safe ways to provide anaesthesia for major operations on the hip, knee, prostate and other operations below the ‘chest’.

– Anaesthetists can then also control how sedated (awake, drowsy or ‘asleep’) patients are during their surgery.

Eating and drinking prior to surgery

It is important that the stomach contents are empty prior to any type of anaesthetic.

Admission for morning operation

You may eat normally the evening before surgery but nothing after midnight. You may continue to take water, black tea or black coffee until 6.00am, but nothing after this time. If you normally take medication in the morning it is important you continue with this unless asked to stop specific medicines at you pre-assessment visit.

Admission for afternoon surgery

You may have a light breakfast before 8.00am but nothing to eat after this time. Can we encourage you to drink water up until midday, you may also have black tea or black coffee, but nothing after this time. Please continue to take your usual medication.


If you are an insulin dependent diabetic you will be given specific advice by your consultant. If you take medication for your diabetes please follow guidance given to you at your pre-assessment visit. If you are unsure about this please contact the hospital.

Eating and drinking after the operation

Depending on the type of surgery or procedure, you would normally be offered water shortly after your return to the ward. This will graduate to a cup of tea followed by a light diet. The nurse looking after you will give you advice.

Modern anaesthesia means that the majority of people do not suffer side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. However if you do, your nurse will be able to administer drugs that will combat this. The anaesthetists will also prescribe pain killers as appropriate so that you are as comfortable as possible.

Discharge time

Even after a short operation, the drugs given may exert an effect for up to 24 hours. It is therefore important that you arrange to be collected from hospital, do not drive (your insurance may be invalid), operate machinery, take sleeping tablets or sign any important documents for 24 hours following surgery.

It is important to drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol for the first 24 hours.

You should have someone to stay with you for 24 hours following your operation or procedure.

Production Date Oct 2012  Next Review Date Oct 2014

Author – Dr Jane Thurlow, Katherine Roberts, Dr Andrew Donovan


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