Watkins Medical Centre
Level 8, 225 Wickham Terrace,
Spring Hill QLD, 4000

All appointments
Phone: (07) 3831 7034

What is a general anaesthetic ?

A general anaesthetic is an anaesthic that means you go to 'sleep'. This is different to a local anaesthetic where a portion of the body is made 'numb' so you don't feel the pain of surgery. Modern general anaesthesia is very safe and it is delivered by a specialist anaesthetist. Induction of anaesthesia is very quick and is done with an intravaenous injection. Typically, a patient is 'unconscious' in 5 - 10 seconds after the injection. Most spine surgery is performed in the prone (on your stomach) position. Because of this an endotracheal tube is passed into your trachea (breathing pipe) and your lungs are inflated and deflated with a ventillator. (this may be responsible for a slight sore throat in some patients after surgery). During the operation it is common to give drugs to temporarily 'paralyse' your muscles. This helps greatly with the surgery.

Recovery from general anaesthesia depends on the drugs used and the length of the procedure. For short procedures, and with modern drugs, you wake up very quickly. Most complex spine surgery requires a different set of drugs and it can take a variable time to wake up fully.

After surgery patients are nursed in the recovery room and are kept there untill awake enough to return to the ward.