- Prevent pain
- Relax the muscles
- Regulate body functions
Reasons for Procedure
- Being aware of it
- Feeling any pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- 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
- While rare, there is a small risk of the following complications, especially among the elderly or those with medical problems:
- Medical conditions—heart, respiratory, kidney conditions, and diabetes
- Certain medicines—especially those that increase bleeding (eg, aspirin)
- Alcohol use—may alter the way the liver handles anesthesia
- Time of last food intake—a full stomach may cause food to enter the lungs
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia in the past or family history of adverse reactions
- Food or drug allergies
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.
- Medicines 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 medicines in the morning before surgery.
Description of the Procedure
- Induction phase—Medicines 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—Medicines 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 medicines 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
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which last for more than two days after leaving the hospital
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Dizziness, faintness
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 and you. American Society of Anesthesiologists website. Available at: http://www.asahq.org/patientEducation/anesandyou.htm. Accessed July 28, 2009.
General anesthesia. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anesthesia/MY00100. Updated June 2009. Accessed July 28, 2009.
The Joint Commission website. Available at: http://www.jointcommission.org/. Accessed July 28, 2009.
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: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/91/2012 -