Auckland DHB Anaesthesia
Public Service, Anaesthesia
The Anaesthetic Process
Anaesthesia is essential for all surgery. Our job is to facilitate pain free surgery and to ensure the safety of the patient before, during and after the surgery. All Anaesthetists in Australia and New Zealand are Medical Specialist Doctors.
Commencing anaesthesia takes anywhere from ten minutes to an hour or more, to make sure the patient is safe and adequately anaesthetised before surgery begins. The anaesthetic modality may be any one or a mixture of general anaesthesia, sedation, local anaesthesia or "regional anaesthesia" - where individual nerves or parts of the body are anaesthetised specifically. The anaesthetist remains present during surgery to ensure the patient's stability and comfort.
Once the surgery is finished, patients are transferred to the Recovery Room (PACU) and further monitored to ensure they are remaining stable. Patients will usually spend an hour in the PACU area prior to being returned to the ward.
The information on this page is for adult patients and their families. For information about children's anaesthesia at Auckland District Health Board, please refer to the Starship Child Health Anaesthesia page https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/public/anaesthesia/starship-paediatric-anaesthesia/
If you are requiring information regarding anaesthesia during pregnancy or childbirth, please consult the National Women's website for details specific to your procedure: https://nationalwomenshealth.adhb.govt.nz/healthprofessionals/publications/patient-information-sheets/
Anaesthetic Assessment Clinics are held at Greenlane Clinical Centre. Obstetric Anaesthesia Assessment Clinics are held at National Women's Hospital (Level 9, Auckland City Hospital, Grafton).
All patients attending the clinic will have an opportunity to talk to, and be assessed by an anaesthetist prior to having an anaesthetic.
We have endeavoured to make this process as user-friendly and useful as possible for our elective patients. To this end we have set up an Anaesthetic Assessment Clinic that provides anaesthetic risk assessment and patient education for all our elective surgical patients. Patients can be seen well ahead of surgery, allowing them to think about questions they wish to ask and have an opportunity to speak with a professional for as long as necessary.
Information about your operation (e.g. where to go on the day, preparation and so on) is available below in the Preparation for your Anaesthetic section.
Labour Pain Relief Information
The Anaesthetic Allergy Testing Clinic
Allergic reactions to anaesthetic drugs are a rare but potentially serious event. The purpose of the clinic is to investigate cases of suspected allergic reaction during anaesthesia, establish the likely cause and provide advice regarding future anaesthetics. This service is provided by the Anaesthesia and Perioperative Service and supported by the ADHB Immunology Service and Lab Plus. Referrals are generally made to the clinic by the anaesthetist responsible for the case. Referrals are also accepted from GPs, surgeons and other clinicians.
A patient information brochure about allergic reactions associated with anaesthesia is available at http://anzaag.com/Docs/PDF/Anaphylaxis%20Box/Patient%20Information%20Brochure%20May16.pdf
Service Clinical Director, Department of Adult and Emergency Anaesthesia & Operating Rooms, Level 8 Auckland City Hospital & Greenlane Surgical Unit
Anaesthetist and Clinical Director of Acute Pain Management, Level 8 Auckland City Hospital
Anaesthetist and Director of Anaesthesia Allergy Testing Clinic, Level 8 Auckland City Hospital
Anaesthetist and Clinical Director of TARPS
Service Clinical Director, Department of Cardiothoracic and ORL Anaesthesia & Operating Rooms, Level 4 Auckland City Hospital
Service Clinical Director, Women's Health Anaesthesia & Operating Rooms, Level 9 Auckland City Hospital
Deputy Service Clinical Director (Professional Affairs), Department of Adult and Emergency Anaesthesia & Operating Rooms, Level 8 Auckland City Hospital & Greenlane Surgical Unit
Service Clinical Director, Children's Anaesthesia, Starship Children's Hospital
Deputy Service Clinical Director (Operational), Department of Adult and Emergency Anaesthesia & Operating Rooms, Level 8 Auckland City Hospital & Greenlane Surgical Unit
Deputy Service Clinical Director, Department of Cardiothoracic and ORL Anaesthesia & Operating Rooms, Level 4 Auckland City Hospital
Director, Perioperative Services, Auckland District Health Board
Deputy Clinical Director, Perioperative Safety, Quality and Improvement (Post-Operative Care)
Deputy Service Clinical Director, Perioperative Safety, Quality and Improvement (Surgical Preparation)
Specialist Adult Perioperative Physician & GP Liaison
All elective surgical patients will fill in a health questionnaire. This is then assessed by the anaesthetic clinic nurse who will allocate you, according to the anaesthetic assessment guidelines, to:
- a 15-minute preoperative anaesthetic assessment in person or via phone, or
- a full anaesthetic assessment which takes up to an hour - this can also be arranged by sending a referral letter to the relevant anaesthetic department.
You will be booked into the clinic and will receive a letter explaining when and where to attend.
You will be seen by an anaesthetist, assessed for your suitability for various forms of anaesthesia, and given information appropriate for you and the type of surgery you are scheduled for. You will likely also be seen by other members of the surgical team at this appointment also. Please feel free to bring questions to this visit and then to bring the same questions and more to the hospital on the day of your surgery.
You will meet your allocated anaesthetist prior to going into the operating theatre. There will always be time to answer any questions you have about your anaesthetic, your safety and how we will keep you comfortable.
Questions about your clinic appointment, or about the perioperative process in general may be directed to
Procedures / Treatments
Preparation for your Anaesthetic
Haere mai! Your planned operation has now been booked and we would like to help you to be prepared for your upcoming anaesthetic.… More
Labour Pain Relief Education
Labour can be a very personal and emotional experience, and therefore is not always the best time to receive information or make a decision about pain relief such as an epidural.… More
Women's Health Pain Clinic
If you have been invited to attend an appointment at the Women’s Health Pain Clinic at Greenlane Clinical Centre, here is the information leaflet about the clinic. More
Anaesthesia is essential for all surgery.
Our job is to facilitate pain-free surgery and to ensure the safety of the patient before, during and after the surgery.… More
A combination of medications are given to make you unconscious. Although often referred to as "sleep", this unconsciousness is very different from your nightly rejuvenating sleeping.… More
After cleaning and application of a local anaesthetic, we slowly introduce an epidural needle through the skin and ligament of the spine, ultimately into the "epidural" compartment of the spinal column.… More
After cleaning with an antiseptic solution and application of local anaesthetic a very fine needle is introduced into the fluid surrounding the nerves below the spinal cord. Local anaesthetics and/or opioids are placed into this fluid, which then numbs the lower half of your body to allow the surgery to… More
After cleaning with an aseptic solution, either a nerve stimulator or an ultrasound machine is used to locate the nerves supplying the area for surgery. Local anaesthetic is then placed near the nerve and the area will go numb. The surgery can occur without pain. There may still be some… More
Local anaesthetic is introduced directly around the area to have surgery and the site goes numb. Only relatively small areas can be numbed up like this; therefore the limb or area of the body outside of the local anaesthetic retains all its functions. There may still be movement and pressure… More
After placing an intravenous line, we are able to supply medications that allow you to become more relaxed. In the peri-operative context this is usually used in conjunction with some other form of local anaesthesia. More
Risks of Anaesthesia
Common unwanted side effects
Nausea and/or vomiting - this is a common side effect which may be due to the surgical process or anaesthesia.… More
Was this page helpful?
This page was last updated at 4:05PM on April 5, 2022. This information is reviewed and edited by Auckland DHB Anaesthesia.