Dr Philip Cumpston

M.B.B.S. (SYD), F.A.N.Z.C.A., F.C.I.C.M., F.F.A.C.E.M.

Visiting Senior Specialist Anaesthetist

Senior Lecturer, The University of Queensland

What the anaesthetist does

 The role of the anaesthetist is to protect you from the stress of anaesthesia and surgery. The anaesthetist, who is a specialist medical practitioner also does his or her very best to keep you safe, and to provide the surgeon with the best conditions to do their job well.

This is done by using drugs to bring about an altered state of consciousness, where you are unaware of your surroundings, dampen down the normal stress resonses to physical injury, and feel no pain.

What is anaesthesia / an anaesthetic?

Anaesthesia is an abnormal state of consciousness characterised by lack of perception of pain, altered or loss of consciousness, and interference with normal reflex responses to stress.

During this period, the surgeon will be able to operate without your body experiencing the normal stresses it would, should you remain awake. Your major bodily functions are carefully and constantly monitored, and any sign of stress is managed. This is general anaesthesia.

Other types of anaesthesia may also be used, including local anaesthesia and sedation, which is best thought of as light general anaesthesia. Once again, you will be monitored constantly during this period.

After your operation, we want you to experience as little pain and discomfort as possible and here again, the anaesthetist will help.

Where can I find out more about anaesthesia and anaesthetists?

The patient section on the Australian Society of Anaesthetists website (https://www.asa.org.au/ASA/Patient_information/ASA/Patient_information/Patient_information.aspx?hkey=34245cdd-9148-4820-a002-8fae6a2e9ef6)

You may also wish to visit the preoperative patient education website by visiting https://www.preop.com

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