Eighty-one patients admitted for minor surgery were followed with questionnaires and self-rating scales in the pre- and post-anesthetic period to evaluate the effect of giving either routine or detailed information. The patients were randomly allocated to two groups and received either routinely given information by the anesthetist for about 5 min or more detailed information for at least 20 min. The patients' experience of the effect of the preanesthetic visit was tranquillizing and adequate in both groups. The most significant difference with detailed information was a smaller number of side-effects like slow cerebration, nausea and a general feeling of discomfort compared to the routinely informed patients. Repetitive ratings on Spielberger's State of Anxiety Scale showed that the patients who had had previous anesthetic experience were less influenced by the degree of information given. In view of the considerable numbers of parameters investigated, there were relatively few significant differences between the groups, and it was concluded that there was no convincing benefit from expanding routine to detailed information.