Anaesthesia for Gynaecology

Obstetric and gynaecological surgery can be divided into the following types:

  1. that performed inside your abdomen.
    a) as an open procedure
    b) as a laparoscopic procedure
  2. those procedures done through the vagina

The type of anaesthesia and postoperative pain management is different for each of these. The following is general information only and should not be considered to be appropriate to your own situation. You must discuss your situation with your own anaesthetist.

Most patients are only concerned with those details of their anaesthetic of which they will be aware. Aspects including monitoring of heart and lung function, blood pressure and temperature maintenance, management of the level of consciousness and intraoperative prevention of deep venous thrombosis will not be discussed.

Before entering the operating theatre patients may be given sedation if facilities permit. This is usually given into a vein (intravenous) in the anaesthetic waiting room while the patient is still on their trolley. Once in the theatre the anaesthetic is induced. This usually involves another intravenous injection. In some circumstances the induction may be inhalational with anaesthetic vapour.

Whether for laparoscopic, open or per vaginal surgery you will require a general anaesthetic.

Intra-abdominal procedures whether open or Laparoscopic are usually associated with some degree of post-operative abdominal discomfort. Particularly in laparoscopic surgery this post operative pain may be referred to your shoulder because of the way the nerve supply to the area is arranged. The pain should be expected to be short term and, if you are going home on the same day, to respond to oral medications which will be prescribed by your anaesthetist. Complicated intra-abdominal procedures may require stronger pain medications and a longer stay in hospital.

Minor per vaginal procedures such as D&C or hysteroscopy may be associated with some cramping pain post operatively (not unlike period pain). This is often treated similarly to period pain with heat packs and simple analgesics such as paracetamol/codeine and ibuprofen.

Gynaecology procedures are associated with a higher incidence of postoperative nausea than most other procedures. Your anaesthetist will take special steps to minimise this side effect. If you have suffered from postoperative nausea in the past then you should make sure that your anaesthetist is aware of it.

Finally, this information is of a most general nature only and might not apply directly to you. Nothing replaces a discussion with your anaesthetist as to your particular situation and how he or she intends to deal with it.

For more information please refer to