Dr. Justin Watts

Dr. J. Watts
Dr. J. WattsAnaesthetist

About Justin

Dr. Watts graduated in medicine from the University of Melbourne and trained as specialist anaesthetist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital including rotations to Monash Medical Centre, Royal Women’s Hospital, and the Western Hospital.

He completed a fellowship in neuro-anaesthesia at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, UK. He currently works in private practice, mainly at the Epworth, Melbourne Private and John Fawkner Private Hospitals.

Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
Australian Society of Anaesthetists
American Society of Regional Anaesthesia
Society of Neurosurgical Anesthesia and Critical Care
European Society of Anesthesia
Cardiology (Catheter Laboratory)

Your Anaesthetist

An anaesthetist is a highly trained doctor who has spent at least five years undergoing specialist training after medical school to become registered as a specialist in anaesthesia. Their function is to make you insensitive to pain during surgery, to supervise your recovery from anaesthesia, and to ensure you are comfortable afterwards. They will stay with you at all times during your operation and will carefully monitor the way your body responds to the stress it will encounter.

Your anaesthetist will be Dr. Justin Watts. Dr. Watts has a fellowship in anaesthesia from the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. He has studied, worked and taught in Australia and in the UK.

Types of Anaesthesia

At the pre-operative assessment, the following alternatives may be discussed:

General Anaesthesia:Your anaesthetist will inject a drug through a needle placed in a vein and you will go to sleep very quickly. When you are asleep other drugs will be administered to keep you asleep and to prevent pain. A tube may be inserted into your mouth or windpipe to help you breathe. Your anaesthetist remains with you during the entire procedure and will escort you to the recovery room afterwards.

As with all procedures in medicine, there are risks involved. The most common problems that are encountered are drowsiness, sore throat, headache and nausea and vomiting. Less common problems are bruising, pain at the injection site, damage to teeth, lips, voice-box or tongue and deep vein thrombosis. Finally, there are very uncommon, rare complications such as heart attack, stroke, severe allergic reactions, awareness and failure of kidneys, liver or lungs. These may lead to a prolongation of your stay or even more rarely, disability or death.

Regional Anaesthesia (spinal/epidural):Your anaesthetist will firstly put an intravenous drip in your arm. You will then receive an injection of local anaesthetic in the lower part of your back. This will make your legs and abdomen numb. You may remain awake or receive sedatives to make you drowsy or asleep. Sometimes pressure can be felt, but there should be no painful sensation and the lower half of you will be covered so you will not see what is happening. Spinal anaesthesia is commonly used in prostate surgery and joint replacement surgery in the legs.

Again, there are risks involved. These risks include the risks mentioned above in “general anaesthesia”, as well as risks specific to spinal/epidural anaesthesia. Occasionally the anaesthetic does not spread far enough and you will need to go to sleep, occasionally low blood pressure is experienced and occasionally a bad headache will be experienced afterwards that may require a further epidural for treatment. Very rarely, the nerves from the spine or even the spinal cord itself may be damaged by the needle, an infection or a blood clot. Usually, damage resolves over a few weeks but there are rare recorded instances of permanent damage or even paraplegia.

Preparation for surgery


Do not eat for six hours prior to surgery. (For morning surgery, do
not eat after midnight. For afternoon surgery, do not eat after 7am). You may drink limited amounts of water (200 ml per hour) up until 2 hours prior to surgery. DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING FOR 2 HOURS PRIOR TO SURGERY


Please bring all medications to hospital. You can usually continue regular medication except tablets for diabetes (to lower blood sugar), or blood thinning agents that your surgeon has told you cease.

Do not smoke

Even stopping smoking for as little as 12 hours may have a beneficial effect.

Anaesthetic fees

Despite the highly specialised nature of anaesthesia, the extensive training required and the cost of running a practice (including indemnity premiums, wages and rent), patient rebates from Medicare and health funds have always been low for anaesthetic services. Medicare fees for anaesthesia have not been indexed since 2012 and this “indexation freeze” may continue until 2020.

Estimating your gap

Anaesthetic fees are determined by taking into account the complexity of the surgical procedure, the age and health of the patient and the time taken. As it is not possible to say exactly how long a procedure will take, or what complications may arise, it is not possible to provide an exact quote for the out-of-pocket (“gap”) fee.

Different private health funds pay different rebates for anaesthesia. Patients having the same operation may have large differences in gap payments because of this difference in rebates.

For a more detailed explanation you can visit the following website:


You may receive a separate communication from Dr. Watts’ rooms regarding your individual quote.

If you have any queries relating to your anaesthetic procedure or out-of–pocket expenses, please discuss them with Dr. Watts during your pre-anaesthetic assessment or call his rooms on 9427 7899.