Prone positioning of patients during anaesthesia is required to provide operative access for a wide variety of surgical procedures. It is associated with predictable changes in physiology but also with a number of complications, and safe use of the prone position requires an understanding of both issues. We have reviewed the development of the prone position and its variants and the physiological changes which occur on prone positioning. The complications associated with this position and the published techniques for various practical procedures in this position will be discussed. The aim of this review is to identify the risks associated with prone positioning and how these risks may be anticipated and minimized.