Dr Rob Elliott, Orthopaedic Surgeon
Shoulder, Hip, Knee & Elbow Specialist

Day of Surgery

Delivering safety


What will happen before your surgery


You will meet an anaesthetist who will be responsible for keeping your pain controlled, and keeping you comfortable and safe during the procedure. There are many ways of achieving anaesthesia for an operation. We often use a combination of techniques to achieve optimal pain control and safety.  Your anaesthetist will assess you and make recommendations based on the planned procedure, your medical status and your personal preferences.

  • General anaesthesia – inducing at state of unconsciousness via injected or inhaled drugs
  • Spinal anaesthesia – an injection of  local anaesthetic and opioid  medication into the cerebrospinal fluid which bathes the nerves of the body. Your lower half will become numb and immobile for the  duration of surgery. . This is a very safe technique for lower limb surgery and my preference for hip and knee replacements. This may be combined with sedation or a light general anaesthetic. 
  • Epidural anaesthesia – a small soft catheter is passed outside the spinal canal dura, and can remain for several days. Local anaethetic is infused in for ongoing pain relief.
  • Regional anaesthesia – local anaesthetic is injected around peripheral nerves to numb the area supplied by those nerves. This can provide pain relief for 6-12 hours
  • Local anaesthetic – Local anaesthetic is injected immediately around the wound. This can last from 2-8 hours depending on the type of anaesthetic

All anaesthetic modalities have their own benefits and carry specific risks. We rely on our anaesthetic team to recommend the ideal anaesthetic to fit your needs.

For further information see http://www.anzca.edu.au/patients


You will be checked in by nursing staff and asked to change into a surgical gown. Numerous people will ask you your personal details, which operation you are having and which side we are operating on. These all serve as checks to ensure we are doing the correct operation on the intended patient and side. You will need to sign consent to undergo the surgery and the anaesthesia if you have not already. Your operative limb will be marked with a pen.