Anaesthetic information for patients


Anaesthetics are given by specially trained doctors called anaesthetists. The anaesthetist is responsible for your wellbeing and safety throughout your surgery and will plan your type of anaesthetic and pain control with you.

What is an anaesthetic?

Anaesthesia stops you feeling pain during an operation. There are different types of anaesthetic:

  • a local anaesthetic uses an injection to numb a part of your body. You stay awake but don’t feel pain
  • a regional anaesthetic uses an injection of anaesthetic to numb a larger part of your body (such as an arm or a leg). You stay awake but don’t feel pain
  • a general anaesthetic gives a state of controlled unconsciousness during which you feel nothing. This is essential for many operations and you will be asleep for the entire procedure.

For more information about having surgery as a day case (having surgery or a procedure and be discharged home on the same day) see the day surgery page.