- Prevent pain
- Relax the muscles
- Regulate body functions
Reasons for Procedure
- Being aware of it
- Feeling any pain
- Allergic reaction to anesthetic used
- Nerve damage or skin breakdown from positioning on the operating table
- Sore throat or damage to throat, teeth, or vocal cords
- Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Your health history and your family's health history—Tell your doctor if you have had anesthesia before and your reaction to it. Tell your doctor about your family's history with anesthesia.
- Medications that you take, including herbs and supplements —These can have an effect on how the anesthesia works.
- Your height and weight will be taken.
- You will need to fast the night before surgery.
- You may need to take certain medications in the morning before surgery.
Description of the Procedure
- Induction phase—Medications will be given that result in the loss of consciousness. These will be given through an IV or through gas into the lungs. A breathing tube will be placed down your windpipe. This will be attached to a machine that helps you continue to breathe normally.
- Middle or maintenance phase—Medications will be given based on your responses. These may keep you asleep or regulate your body functions.
- Recovery or emergence phase—This will slowly reverse the anesthesia. The medications given will allow you to wake up. When you are starting to awaken and are breathing on your own, the breathing tube will be removed.
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Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Type of surgery
- Your reaction to the surgery and anesthesia
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incision
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given after surgery, or which last for more than two days after leaving the hospital
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Lightheadedness or fainting
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists http://www.aana.com
American Society of Anesthesiologists http://www.asahq.org
Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society http://www.cas.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Anesthesia—what to expect. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/teen/your%5Fbody/medical%5Fcare/anesthesia.html. Updated April 2012. Accessed September 29, 2014.
General anesthesia. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/general-anesthesia/. Updated January 2014. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Pollard R, Coyle J, Gilbert R, Beck J. Intraoperative awareness in a regional medical system: A review of 3 years' data. Anesthesiology. 2007;269-274.
Sackel DJ. Anesthesia awareness: an analysis of its incidence, the risk factors involved, and prevention. Journal of Clinical Anesthesia. 2006;18:483-485.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/29/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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