Informed Consent is an important Patient Right. Informed consent in healthcare means a patient must be given understandable and clear information about their proposed procedure and available choices so that they can make the right decision about their health and healthcare options.

The Australian Patients Association has a relationship with EIDO who provides a complete range of information sheets about various medical procedures to enable informed consent from patients.

The EIDO medical procedure information sheets are clear, evidence based, up to date and easy to use. These information sheets were developed by surgeons for surgeons to use with their patients.

To find out more about EIDO Healthcare and the products they offer see EIDO Healthcare.

General Anaesthetic
Epidural Anaesthetic
Local Anaesthetic
Pain Relief After Surgery
Spinal Anaesthetic
Pain Relief in Labour
Epidural Injection for Chronic Pain Relief
General Anaesthetic (child)
Anaesthetics (Overview)
Peripheral Nerve Block (Lower Limb)
Peripheral Nerve Block (Upper Limb)
Facet Joint Injection
Breast Augmentation
Breast Reduction
Breast Uplift
Breast Reconstruction with Latissimus Dorsi Flap
Breast Reconstruction with an Implant or Tissue Expander
Cardiac Catheterisation
External Cardioversion
Gynaecomastia Surgery
Otoplasty (child)
Otoplasty (adult)
Closure of Loop Ileostomy
Closure of Loop Colostomy
Surgery for Diverticular Disease
Lateral Internal Sphincterotomy
Reversal of Hartmann's Procedure
Surgery for Anal Fistula
Abdominal Surgery for Crohn's Disease
Injection or Banding of Haemorrhoids
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
Aortic Valve Replacement
Mitral Valve Surgery
Laparoscopic Gastric Banding – Day Case
Retinal Detachment Surgery – Day Case
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy – Day Case
Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication – Day Case
Removing Wisdom Teeth
Removing Teeth
Upper GI Endoscopy
Upper GI Endoscopy and Dilatation
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Transbronchial Biopsy
Endoscopic Ultrasound
Upper GI Endoscopy and Colonoscopy
Grommet Insertion (child)
Grommet Insertion (adult)
Tonsillectomy (adult)
Adenoidectomy (child)
Tonsillectomy (child)
Surgery for Cholesteatoma
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Myringoplasty (child)
Adeno-Tonsillectomy (child)
Open Inguinal Hernia Repair (male)
Paraumbilical and Umbilical Hernia Repair
Femoral Hernia Repair
Open Incisional Hernia Repair
Removing Benign Skin Lesions
Abscess Incision and Drainage
Thyroidectomy (for Nodule)
Thyroidectomy (for Goitre)
Open Inguinal Hernia Repair (female)
Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair (TAPP)
Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair (TEP)
Surgery for Pilonidal Sinus
Surgery for Ingrowing Toenail (adult)
Total Thyroidectomy (for Thyrotoxicosis)
Elective Diagnostic Laparoscopy
Epigastric Hernia Repair (adult)
Laparoscopic Incisional Hernia Repair
Punch Biopsy of a Skin Lesion
Laparoscopic Gastric Banding
Inserting a Gastric Balloon
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
Removing Wisdom Teeth
Removing Teeth
Maxillary Le Fort 1 Osteotomy
TMJ Arthroscopy
Open TMJ Surgery
Lumbar Microdiscectomy
Lumbar Laminectomy
Cervical Laminectomy
Abdominal Hysterectomy
Vaginal Hysterectomy
Elective Caesarean Section
Hysteroscopic Endometrial Resection
Diagnostic Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy and Dye Test
Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
Laparoscopic Sterilisation
Colposcopy and LLETZ
Anterior Repair
Posterior Repair
Laparoscopic Oophorectomy
Inserting an IUCD
Laparoscopic Subtotal Hysterectomy
Thermal Balloon Endometrial Ablation
Radio-Frequency Endometrial Ablation
Cataract Surgery (Phacoemulsification) With Monofocal Intraocular Lens Implant
Glaucoma Surgery (Trabeculectomy)
Retinal Detachment Surgery
Corneal Transplant Surgery
Correcting a Squint (child)
Entropion and Ectropion Repair
Ptosis Surgery (adult)
Correcting a Squint (adult)
Total Hip Replacement
Total Knee Replacement
Arthroscopy of the Knee
ACL Reconstruction
Carpal Tunnel Release
Dupuytren's Fasciectomy
Bunion Surgery
Ankle Fracture Surgery
Ankle Arthrodesis
Lumbar Microdiscectomy
Shoulder Surgery (Rotator Cuff)
Lumbar Laminectomy
Total Shoulder Replacement
Excision of a Ganglion
Surgery for Problems of the Small Toes
Ulnar Nerve Release
Total Ankle Replacement
Revision Total Hip Replacement
Arthroscopy of the Wrist
Arthroscopy of the Elbow
Arthroscopy of the Shoulder
Removing Metalware
Revision Total Shoulder Replacement
Total Elbow Replacement
Arthroscopic Release of Frozen Shoulder
Surgery for De Quervain's Disease
Arthroscopy of the Ankle
Unicompartmental Knee Replacement
Trigger Finger Release
Surgery for Tennis Elbow
Revision Total Knee Replacement
Inguinal Hernia Repair (child)
Circumcision (child)
Orchidopexy for a Palpable Testicle (child)
Appendicectomy (child)
Umbilical Hernia Repair (child)
Hydrocele Repair (child)
Liver Biopsy
Lung Biopsy
Kidney Transplant
Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
Open Cholecystectomy
Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication
Elective Splenectomy
Cholecystectomy and Exploration of the Bile Duct
Anti-Reflux Surgery
Laparoscopic Heller's Cardiomyotomy
Bilateral Vasectomy
Surgery for Benign Scrotal Lumps
Circumcision (adult)
Rigid Cystoscopy (male)
Flexible Cystoscopy (male)
Reversing a Vasectomy
Rigid Cystoscopy (female)
Flexible Cystoscopy (female)
Bladder-Neck Incision
Varicose Veins Surgery
Endovenous Ablation
Toe and Forefoot Amputation
A01: General Anaesthetic

What is a general anaesthetic?

A general anaesthetic is a combination of drugs that produce deep sleep. It is used for operations or procedures as it causes a loss of sensation. You will not be aware of what is happening and afterwards you will not remember anything that has happened.

What are the benefits of a general anaesthetic?

You need to have an operation or procedure. So that your surgeon or doctor can perform the operation safely, you need to be in a state where you do not move and your muscles are relaxed. A safe way to achieve this is to give you a general anaesthetic.

Are there any alternatives to a general anaesthetic?

Other forms of anaesthesia include injections near the area of surgery (local anaesthetic) or injections of local anaesthetic near major nerves or your spinal cord (regional, epidural or spinal anaesthetic). Local anaesthetics will numb the area to be operated on but you will be awake or under sedation for the operation.

How is a general anaesthetic given?

Most people are sent to sleep by injecting the anaesthetic through a drip (small tube) in a vein. It takes about 30 seconds to work.

For some people it may be more appropriate to go to sleep by breathing an anaesthetic gas through a face mask. This also takes about 30 seconds to work.

You will be kept asleep either by giving you more of the same anaesthetic into the vein or by breathing anaesthetic gases.

When the operation has finished, the anaesthetic wears off, allowing you to wake up again.

Is a general anaesthetic safe?

A general anaesthetic is safe for most people.

Your anaesthetist may need to do some tests before the operation to assess how safe a general anaesthetic is for you. The tests will vary and may include the following.

  • Blood tests to check for anaemia (your body not producing enough healthy red blood cells)
  • ECG (electrocardiogram) to record the electric activity of your heart
  • Lung-function tests

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

Minor complications (not disabling or life-threatening)

  • Feeling or being sick after the operation
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle and back pains
  • Dental damage
  • Difficulty passing urine

Serious complications

  • Loss or change of hearing
  • Eye injury
  • Nerve injury
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Chest infection and other breathing problems
  • Allergic reaction

How soon will I recover?

A general anaesthetic can affect your judgement and reactions for 24 hours.

If you are fit and maintain a healthy weight, you are more likely to do well after having a general anaesthetic.


A general anaesthetic is usually a safe and effective way for you to have an operation or procedure.

Most people do not have any problems and are satisfied with their anaesthetic.