The type of anaesthesia you will receive will depend on the nature and duration of your procedure, your general medical condition and the preferences of your anaesthetist, surgeon and most importantly yourself.

General Anaesthesia
You are put into a state of unconsciousness for the duration of the operation. This is usually achieved by injecting drugs through a cannula placed in a vein and maintained with intravenous drugs or a mixture of gases which you will breathe. While you remain unaware of what is happening around you, the anaesthetist monitors your condition closely and constantly adjusts the level of anaesthesia.

Regional anaesthesia
A nerve block numbs the part of the body where the surgeon operates and may avoid the need for general anaesthesia and will also provide you with pain relief after your procedure. Examples of regional anaesthesia include epidurals for labour, spinal anaesthesia for caesarean section and ‘eye blocks’ for cataracts.

Local anaesthesia
A local anaesthetic drug is injected at the site of the surgery to cause numbness. An example of local anaesthesia is numbing an area of skin before having a cut stitched.

The anaesthetist administers drugs to make you relaxed and drowsy. This is sometimes called twilight sleep or conscious sedation. Recall of events after the procedure is possible but you will be comfortable throughout the procedure.

For further information visit the Australian Society of Anesthetists information page on the topic.