We Are Here to help
Axxon Health has been providing Anaesthetic and Perioperative Medicine services to the communities of South-East Queensland since July 2001. Our practice has increased in size since 2001 and currently has a total of twenty-two practitioners all of whom are Specialist Private Anaesthetists.
- Ear, nose and throat surgery
- Some general surgery operations
You will usually be contacted by the day surgery team before your booked surgery date. Many details will have been covered, but below is a list of some information that will make the process more efficient:
- Bring a list of medications and allergies – your General Practitioner can sometimes provide this.
- Bring test results, X-rays and scans. Generally only those relevant to the surgical problem you have are relevant. However, if you have complex or chronic heart and/or lung problems any scans or results relevant to that should be brought along with you.
- Ensure you understand and follow the fasting instructions provided to you by your surgeon and the hospital. This is generally six hours of fasting from all food and fluid including water. If you have any questions about this please contact our office.
- Most regular medications including cardiac and respiratory medicines should be taken on the day of surgery as per your usual doctor’s instructions. Some diabetic medication and some blood thinning medications are exceptions to this rule. If you are unsure, please call the day surgery team, your surgeons office or contact our office for clarification.
- Allow yourself enough time to get to the facility so that you are as relaxed as possible when you get there – this is a stressful time for most patients. If you are uncertain about any aspect of your day surgery procedure, it is best to ask either your surgeon, your anaesthetist or the day surgery team. We have heard most problems previously and have solutions for everything – we are all here to help.
A specialist Anaesthetist will see you prior to the operation. This will often be just before the operation. The Anaesthetist will assess your general health and your history relating to any previous anaesthetics. It is during this consultation you will find out what type of Anaesthesia is suitable for your planned operation. Generally this will fall into one (or more) of the following categories:
- General Anaesthetic
- Epidural or Spinal Anaesthetic
- Regional Anaesthetic, and
- Sedation or Twilight Sleep
You should discuss any aspects of the Anaesthetic management with your Anaesthetist at this time.
Generally, your Surgeon will advise you. Many factors need to be considered, not just the operation type.
Other considerations include:
- Your general health – more serious medical problems may be best dealt with as an inpatient
- Your domestic situation – who is at home with you and the physical characteristics of your home
- Previous history of surgery and anaesthesia – if you have had problems with anaesthetic or surgery such as severe nausea, your management may be best dealt with as an inpatient
- Ability to arrange appropriate post procedural supervision – if you do not have a responsible adult to take you home and stay with you until the next morning you may be best dealt with as an inpatient where this can be provided.
These types of issues will be discussed with you prior to surgery and you should raise any concerns or questions at this time.
Fees, GAP, Health Funds And Rebates
Yes, the anaesthetic is a separate service to your surgery as a different specialist provides it, so it is billed independently of the surgeon.
Depending on the type of health insurance you have the cost of the anaesthetic may be wholly covered by your insurance or may incur an additional (out-of-pocket) fee. You will be advised of this fee prior to your surgery. Please ask if you have any questions about fees
Although the exact fee for your anaesthetic will be determined by the nature and duration of the anaesthetic attendance, it is usually possible to give a close estimate before surgery. You are advised to obtain this information from our office so that you are aware of all the costs involved before your operation.
Payments may be made by Bpay, cheque, Visa or Mastercard. If you have questions about any aspect of your anaesthetic care, please Contact Us on (07) 3214 8555, or fill out our ‘estimate of fee form’.
Our expert and dedicated staff will be able to assist you and answer your enquiries regarding our services and fees. They will also be able to direct you to an appropriate doctor to help with anaesthetic related questions on (07) 3214 8555 or if you prefer please fill out our enquiry form and one of our team members will get back to you shortly.
Specialist anaesthesia services attract a fee separate to those charged by the hospital or other doctors caring for you. While the fee will vary depending on the complexity and duration of the anaesthesia, it is usually possible to obtain an estimate prior. Ask your doctor about the fees relating to your proposed treatment.
You may be able to claim a rebate for a portion of your anaesthetic fee from Medicare and your private health insurance fund. Often there is an associated out-of-pocket expense and the size of this ‘gap’ varies depending on your fund and your level of coverage. It is your responsibility to pay your anaesthesia fees.
The anaesthesia fee may be derived from the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) or Relative Value Guide. The Commonwealth Medical Benefits Schedule reflects the amount the government is prepared to reimburse people for medical services. It does not reflect the true value of the service. The graph above shows what the level anaesthesia rebate would be if it were indexed to CPI. This is reflected in the AMA suggested unit rate of $89.00. All citizens are reimbursed up to 75% of the MBS unit value, ($19.80), for anaesthesia services in private hospitals. Health insurance funds usually cover the other 25% but this still leaves a gap. Some insurance funds cover part of this gap but the amount varies depending on the fund.
Who to contact?
- Call Axxon Health on (07) 3214 8555
- Download the Billing information sheet from the Australian Society of Anaesthetists website
- For more information regarding doctors’ fees and private health insurance, call the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman Hotline on 1800 640 695, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website www.phio.org.au
The rebate which you receive from your insurers (Medicare and your private health insurance fund) covers only part of the cost of your anaesthetic services. This amount is fixed by government legislation. This means that you will be responsible for the balance of the anaesthesia fee. In other words, there will be an out of pocket amount to pay.
Payment can be made by the following means:
- Pay online
- Pay by phone using a credit card (Visa, MasterCard) Phone: (07) 3214 8555 and have the following information ready:
- Your Patient Reference if you are making a pre-operative payment OR Your Account ID if you are paying a post-operative invoice
- Your credit card details
- Pay by post using one of the methods listed on the payment slip at the bottom of your invoice and post to. To note all cheques are to be in the name of the anaesthetists. Axxon Health, PO BOX 3295, South Brisbane BC QLD 4101
- Pay via your bank account using Bpay – details will be on the bottom of your invoice.
If you have an account query, please call our Accounts Department on (07) 3214 8555 and they will be happy to assist.
How Do I Prepare For My Procedure?
You should avoid smoking for as long as you can before and after surgery. It is especially important not smoke the morning of surgery. This will help you achieve the best possible results from your surgery and also reduce the chance of anaesthetic complications. For example, quitting will reduce the chances of problems like a wound infection after the operation. Surgery can also be an excellent opportunity to quit smoking for good.
Most anaesthetists require six hours of strict fasting from both food and fluids including water prior to an operation. The reason for not eating or drinking prior to your operation is to prevent possible regurgitation of your stomach contents into your lungs. This event is a complication known as aspiration which is potentially life threating. Your surgeon and/or your anaesthetist may have specific changes to these guidelines in certain operations or if you suffer from specific medical conditions. Please contact our office if you have any questions.
Nausea after an operation is a multifactorial problem. There are patient factors, surgical factors and anaesthetic factors contributing to the risk and severity of any nausea that you might suffer after your operation. Nausea often occurs with Gynaecological, Ear Nose & Throat, Breast and abdominal surgeries. Patient factors such as previous nausea, predisposition to motion sickness and preoperative anxiety also contribute to postoperative nausea. Women are generally at slightly higher risk of nausea after operation than men. There have been significant advances in the treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting in the last few years. If you are prone to nausea and vomiting you should inform your anaesthetist before your operation.
Around the time of operation diabetics may suffer lower sugar levels than normal due to both pre-operative fasting and the body’s natural response to undergoing surgery. An adjustment to diabetic medication generally needs to be made before operations to reduce the risk of low blood sugar levels. Axxon anaesthetists have different protocols to manage the risk of low blood sugar in the perioperative period – please either contact your surgeons rooms (they have access to your anaesthetist’s protocol), or if you have any further questions or concerns contact Axxon directly.
If you are taking anticoagulant medication (warfarin, heparin, clexane, dabigatran, rivaroxaban) or antiplatelet medication (aspirin, clopidrogel, dipyridamole) you should check with your surgeon well in advance of your surgery. Many of these drugs last in the body for days or weeks and may need to be ceased or altered prior to surgery. It is imperative your anaesthetist is aware you are taking any of these medications especially if you are to undergo epidural or spinal anaesthesia. If you are unsure about whether any of your medications are blood thinners or how they or any of your other medications should be managed perioperatively please contact our office.
Having oxygen immediately before the induction of general anaesthesia can be likened to filling up the fuel tank of a car before going for a drive. A mask administering oxygen is generally placed lightly over your mouth and nose. Space can be allowed if you suffer claustrophobia, however the greater the amount of oxygen you receive at this time, the greater your safety as the anaesthetic begins. The masks we use may smell unpleasant as they are made from various plastics and have never been used prior to your anaesthetic. They are non-toxic. Some hospitals have scented masks available.
A small needle is used to guide a tiny plastic tube known as an intravenous cannula into a vein prior to the start of the anaesthetic. This generally occurs in a vein on your arm, back of your hand or in your elbow, but can occur anywhere on the surface of your body. This cannula, sometimes known as a drip, allows the anaesthetist to very carefully and closely control your anaesthetic. Having your safety in mind, most anaesthetists will insist on inserting a needle or drip before putting you to sleep. Axxon’s anaesthetists each have slightly different guidelines relating to the requirement for cannulas prior to general anaesthesia. Generally, babies and small children do not require a needle before they go to sleep.
Generally speaking, it is possible for your anaesthetist to take blood tests whilst you are under anaesthetic. Exceptions to this are very short (less than 30 minutes) operations. Taking of a blood test by your anaesthetist must be prearranged. Your general practitioner should write the blood test request form so that they can follow up the results. Not all hospitals have access to the appropriate blood sample tubes, so you may need collect them from the appropriate laboratory before coming to hospital. The hospital can generally arrange for the samples to be collected from the hospital and sent to laboratory whilst you are recovering from your operation. Please contact our office as soon as possible if you wish to determine whether blood tests can be taken whilst you are under anaesthetic.
In general, you should continue to take your usual prescribed medication with a sip of water before your anaesthetic. It is especially important that you continue to take your usual heart medications. Diabetic and blood thinning medication sometimes need to be reduced or ceased prior to operations. Please discuss this with your surgeon or call our office for further instructions.
Tell Me About Anaesthetics
Anaesthesia encompasses many different aspects of caring for patients who require an operation or who are in pain.
Anaesthesia has evolved throughout history and continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The need for painful procedures to save, prolong or improve life has existed since antiquity. The science to permit patients to undergo reversible alteration of consciousness and nerve blocks to reduce perception of painful stimuli has existed for a much shorter time.
For further details about the history of anaesthesia, see http://www.rcoa.ac.uk/about-the-college/history-of-anaesthesia.
Further information regarding anaesthesia and the role of anaesthetists can be found at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists website.
General anaesthesia is a state of reversible unconsciousness that is induced by the use of medicines. There are usually multiple medicines used and may include tablets before the operation, medicines through an intravenous drip or gases to breathe.
This alteration of consciousness is controlled by an anaesthetist who administers the medications and carefully monitors their effects and the status of heart, lungs, brain and other bodily systems. The anaesthetist is present to ensure your safety at all times.
Spinal, epidural and regional anaesthetic techniques are designed to reduce or prevent painful sensation in part of the body. These procedures are distinct from general anaesthesia or sedation.
Spinal, epidural and regional anaesthetic techniques can be used outside of the operating theatre to reduce discomfort, for example after an operation. They can also be used in the operating theatre to prevent pain either whilst the patient stays awake for the operation, such as in caesarean section or undergoes general anaesthesia as well, such as in large abdominal operations.
Spinal and epidural anaesthesia are techniques that involve procedures being performed by your anaesthetist on your back. Your anaesthetist will discuss this procedure with you. Depending on your situation, this may include just a single injection with nothing remaining on your back through to leaving a small catheter in-situ to continue to give ongoing medication for pain relief.
Regional Anaesthesia includes many procedures where local anaesthetic or other pain reducing medications are injected around nerves in the body. These procedures can be performed on many anatomical locations on the body including groin, knee, ankle or shoulder.
Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists – Epidurals & Childbirth
Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists – It’s your labour