General Information

What is Anaesthesia?

Anaesthesia is one of the greatest discoveries of modern medicine. Many of today’s operations, would not be possible without it. The practice of Anaesthesia is central to the relief of pain and suffering.

Anaesthesia refers to the practice of administering medications, either by injection or by inhalation (breathing in). Which block the feeling of pain and other sensations, or that produce a reversible state of unconsciousness that eliminates all sensation. Allowing medical and surgical procedures to be undertaken without causing undue distress or discomfort.

What is an Anaesthetist?

A specialist Anaesthetist is a fully qualified medical doctor, who, after obtaining their medical degree has spent a minimum of two years working the hospital system before completing a further five years of training in anaesthesia.

Anaesthetists have extensive knowledge of medicine and surgery. Their training is equal to other medical specialties such as surgery.

Your Anaesthetist will use modern equipment to monitor your condition during your operation and they will give you the necessary drugs and fluids you need to keep you safe and well throughout your operation.

Your Anaesthetist will stay with you throughout your operation and on to recovery where they will plan your pain relief to make you as comfortable and nausea free as possible.

Types of Anaesthesia

Different types of anaesthesia may be used individually or in combination as appropriate. For some types of surgery, several options are available to facilitate surgical conditions and to provide pain relief. A specialist anaesthetist will consult with the patient and the surgeon to offer the safest and most appropriate type of anaesthesia for the clinical situation.


Local anaesthesia

Local anaesthesia involves the injection of local anaesthetic into the tissues near the surgical site. It may be used alone or in combination with sedation or general anaesthesia after consideration of the extent and duration of the surgery and patient requests. It is usually used for minor surgery, such as toenail repair, skin lesion or a cut to remove something. It may not be appropriate if infection is present.


Regional anaesthesia

Regional anaesthesia involves the injection of local anaesthetic around major nerve bundles supplying body areas, such as the thigh, ankle, forearm, hand, shoulder or abdomen. Regional anaesthesia is sometimes achieved by using a nerve-locating device, such as a nerve stimulator, or by using ultrasound. These devices help to locate the selected nerve(s) so that local anaesthetic can be delivered with improved accuracy. Regional anaesthesia may be used on its own or combined with general anaesthesia.

Once local anaesthetic is injected in the desired region, patients may experience numbness and tingling in the area supplied by the nerves and it may become difficult or impossible to move that part of the body.

The duration of the anaesthesia depends on which local anaesthetic is used, the region into which it is injected and whether it is maintained by continual doses or repeated injections. Typically, numbness can last several hours but may last up to several days. Generally, the "heaviness" wears off within a few hours but the numbness and tingling may persist much longer. As the local anaesthetic effect wears off, numbness will diminish and surgical pain may return, in which case alternate methods of pain relief, including injections or tablets, will be prescribed.


Sedation

Conscious sedation is defined as a medication-induced state that reduces the patient's level of consciousness during which the patient may respond purposefully to verbal commands or light touch. A variety of medications and techniques are available for procedural sedation and/or analgesia (sedation or pain relief which is administered to allow a specialist to perform a procedure). The most common medications used that are injected into a vein are benzodiazepines (which act on the brain and the nervous system) such as midazolam for sedation and opioids (which decrease the patient's perception of pain), such as fentanyl, for pain relief.

Deep levels of sedation, where patients lose consciousness and respond only to painful touch, may be associated with the patient having difficulty with breathing normally and their heart function may be affected. The anaesthetist is trained to manage these situations.

General anaesthesia

General anaesthesia involves the patient being put into a medication-induced state which, when deep enough, means that the patient will not respond to pain and includes changes in breathing and circulation.
Under general anaesthetic, a patient is in a state of carefully controlled unconsciousness.

Anaesthetic Fees

Your safety is our prime concern. However, the Government and other parties require that financial issues are addressed and patients are to receive an estimate of expense for anaesthetic services provided.

Coast Anaesthesia strive to supply their patient’s with informed financial consent whenever possible, and you may receive either an email or a text with a secured link for you to access the relevant information pertaining to you or your child’s procedure.

You should be aware that there is a separate fee from your anaesthetist; wherein Medicare and your health fund may not cover the entire cost. This difference between what is covered and the actual fee for the anaesthetic services is referred to as a “gap”. This gap occurs due to the prolonged price indexation freeze of the Medicare Benefits Schedule for anaesthetic fees.

The Doctors of Coast Anaesthesia do not wish to pass on large out of pocket expenses to their patients and therefore have calculated their fees to be significantly less than what is recommended by the AMA (Australian Medical Association).

The gap will vary greatly depending on your health fund and the complexity of your procedure. There are some lower price point health funds that pay a lesser rebate than others and therefore a greater gap will be evident. This gap only brings the fee in line with what the other health funds are paying.

For ease of reference please see the below diagram. This diagram is an approximate only and applies when you are covered for your procedure by your health fund. The gap for “Majority” of health funds is based on a $500 maximum out of pocket.

AMA recommended fee

AMA recommended fee

Patients without private health insurance will be required to pay the full estimated fee.

We request, wherever possible, all estimated out of pocket or full estimated fees be paid prior to your surgery.

Please direct any queries regarding the estimated expense for anaesthetic services provided to our rooms. One of our friendly administration team will assist you.