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Important instructions to follow after receiving anaesthesia

The following information is being provided to help you understand:

  • the effects anaesthesia can have on you
  • things you should not do following sedation or general anaesthesia
  • how to return to normal eating and drinking
  • what complications to be aware of
  • when and how to seek medical advice.


Type of anaesthesia received:

  • Sedation
  • General Anaesthesia

Subtle effects of anaesthesia can last more than 24 hours depending on the type of anaesthesia used. Although you may feel normal within the first 24 hours, your reflexes and mental ability may be affected without you realising it. You may also feel dizzy, lightheaded, sleepy, drowsy, tired and weak. After a general anaesthetic body aches, sore muscles and a sore throat may also be present.

Therefore for safety and legal reasons for up to:

  • 12 hours after receiving sedation or
  • 24 hours after receiving a general anaesthetic

it is important that you do not: 

  • drink alcohol
  • drive a vehicle or operate machinery
  • return to work
  • make important personal/business decisions/sign important documents.

It is also important during this time to have a ‘Responsible person’ staying with you.


Following an anaesthetic it is important to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the anaesthetic medication through your system and to rehydrate. However, anaesthetics can cause some people to experience nausea and vomiting. To help manage this, gradually increase your diet, beginning with fluids that are clear (e.g. water, black tea, blackcurrant juice, apple juice, jelly), then move to light refreshments when you feel you are ready, before returning to your normal diet.


If complications occur and you need to seek medical advice or experience any of the following:

  • persistent nausea and vomiting
  • unexpected persistent bleeding from the wound
  • a high fever
  • problems with breathing
  • sleepiness.

Please contact your surgeon (specialist rooms), your local doctor (GP) or, in the event of an emergency, your nearest emergency department.

Surgical/procedural instructions

Specific instructions will be provided to you to assist you with care and recovery at home following your surgery or procedure.



Mater Private Hospital Brisbane is also able to provide help with any questions between hours 7 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday via telephoning 07 3163 1067.

Or contact the specific unit: ...........................................


A follow-up call will be made by the nursing staff the day after your procedure to discuss your recovery and any questions you may have. If you have questions and you haven’t received a follow-up call, please do not hesitate to contact the hospital where you had your procedure using the number listed above.

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-400005
Last modified 03/4/2019.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 05/1/2016
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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