Preparing for your anaesthetic

Before your surgery, you will have an appointment with one of our preassessment nurses. This may be at Russells Hall Hospital or Guest Outpatient Centre.

Preassessment ensures each patient requiring an operation is individually assessed in order to make sure they are fit for an anaesthetic and surgery. This will involve nursing or medical staff asking you detailed questions about your health followed by basic tests including blood pressure, temperature, height and weight. After this, patients may require additional tests e.g. blood tests, or heart tracing (electrocardiogram). In some instances, you may be asked to attend a further appointment with one of our consultant anaesthetists before the day of surgery.

Preassessment is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have. The preassessment staff will provide information on eating and drinking before surgery, and give you instructions regarding any medications you may take.

As soon as you know that you may be having an operation, it is helpful to think about how you can be as healthy and as fit as possible for surgery. If you have existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, you may wish to discuss with your GP how you can make your condition as good as possible before your operation. Reducing your weight if you are overweight, doing some exercise to increase your fitness level, and stopping smoking are important. If you are a smoker, you will be offered a referral to the Trust’s stop smoking service.

The following is a series of leaflets to help you prepare for your anaesthetic. Each has more detailed information for different types of operation or procedures you might be having. These were developed jointly by the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI).

You and your anaesthetic

Your spinal anaesthetic

Epidural pain relief after surgery


Anaesthetic choices for for hip or knee replacement

Local anaesthesia for your eye operation

Your anaesthetic for major surgery with planned high dependency care or intensive care afterwards

This website includes text taken from the Royal College of Anaesthetists’ (RCoA) website but the RCoA has not reviewed this as a whole.