Common Anesthesia Side Effects: What to Expect

General Anesthesia Side Effects and Complications

As a board certified anesthesiologist, I’ve walked hundreds, if not thousands, of patients through the process of anesthesia, explaining to them how it works and what the possible side-effects and complications can be. Here, I will share with you what I tell my patients. I’ll give you the run-down on what to expect and how to prevent some potentially unpleasant after effects.

Before going on, though, it might be helpful to distinguish a "side effect" from a "complication." A side-effect is an annoying and perhaps unpleasant outcome that accompanies the desired effect of a treatment. However, side-effects typically do not cause any lasting harm. For instance, weight gain is a side-effect of certain medications. Once you go off the medication, the weight gain typically goes away.

A complication, on the other hand, is an undesirable outcome of a treatment that causes harm to the patient. Complications are sometimes avoidable and sometimes unavoidable, depending on any pre-existing conditions and other factors.

General anesthesia is the most frequently used anesthesia in surgery. General anesthesia puts you into a deep sleep so that you will not feel pain during surgery nor have any awareness of what’s happening. Since general anesthesia involves the use of IV and inhaled medicines to induce and maintain an unconscious, it is not surprising that it is associated with side effects, and less commonly, complications. Given the significant changes induced by these powerful medications, though, the safety record of general anesthesia is particularly impressive.

Side effects though, often cannot be avoided with general anesthesia and most people experience one or more of the most common anesthesia side effects.

General anesthesia has side effects and risks, but is a necessity for many operations. Talk with your surgeon and anesthesiologists about your specific risks.
General anesthesia has side effects and risks, but is a necessity for many operations. Talk with your surgeon and anesthesiologists about your specific risks. | Source

#1: Sore or Scratchy Throat

Many people report a scratchy or sore throat after anesthesia. This side-effect is often the result of the anesthesiologist’s efforts to monitor and regulate your breathing when you’re under. Some anesthetized patients are able to breathe on their own while others require some intervention. Moreover, there are some surgeries, particularly those in the abdomen or chest, that require the muscles used to breath to stay relaxed and not contract. In those instances, you will absolutely need some external support to keep breathing.

In order to help you breathe or control breathing, the anesthesiologist can choose among several methods.

1. A breathing tube. This is the most common method for abdominal, chest, brain or other major surgery. The doctor will slide an endotracheal tube between the vocal cords and into your windpipe after you are unconscious. While this is usually an easy, gentle procedure, the back of the throat and the windpipe are super sensitive areas. As a result, the insertion of the tube often causes a sore throat. It usually lasts just a day or two, can be relieved with lozenges and ice water, and then typically resolves on its own.

Anesthesiologist Placing a Breathing Tube

A special lighted scope is used to move the tongue out of the way, see the vocal cords and place the breathing tube between them.
A special lighted scope is used to move the tongue out of the way, see the vocal cords and place the breathing tube between them.

2. A Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA). This is a soft rubber mask made to fit inside the back of the throat. There is an opening for oxygen to pass through which sits over the entrance to the windpipe. The LMA allows you to breathe on your own and can be used for surgeries on areas outside the body cavities. The LMA may be associated with less incidence of, or lower severity of sore throat, but sore throats still occur fairly frequently.

(Side Note: Although an LMA sounds better, there are some factors that make it less desirable than an endotracheal tube, such as if you have acid reflux. Since the windpipe isn't blocked off from the esophagus, as it is with a breathing tube, acid could potentially enter the lungs if you have this condition. Likewise, obese patients have a tougher time getting sufficient oxygen under the influence of the anesthesia drugs. So if your anesthesiologist has to use a breathing tube there is usually a medically sound reason why.)

Regardless of the breathing device used, oxygen and the anesthesia gases still dry out the mucosa of the throat contributing to that sore, scratchy feeling.

What Does an Anesthesiologist Do?

#2: Post-Operative Nausea and Vomiting (PONV)

One of the most dreaded side-effects of general anesthesia is nausea followed by vomiting. It’s such a frequent side-effect that it has its own name: post-operative nausea and vomiting, or PONV. The nausea is triggered in some way by how the anesthesia effects the brain centers and the gastrointestinal system.

Patients with the following characteristics are more prone to post-operative nausea and vomiting or PONV.

  • Female
  • Young
  • Non-smoking
  • A history of motion sickness
  • A personal or family history of PONV.

Surgeries more likely to lead to PONV include:

  • Any surgery lasting longer than 30 minutes
  • Abdominal and gynecological surgeries
  • Ear, nose and throat surgeries
  • Laparoscopic surgeries
  • Breast surgery
  • Eye surgery
  • Some orthopedic surgery

This list would appear to include almost every kind of surgery. Even in the few kinds of surgery not included, there are additional, unavoidable factors such as the such as use of narcotic and gas medications that contribute to PONV. So if we can't change many of these risk factors what can we do about PONV?

How to Prevent Post-Operative Nausea and Vomiting


  • Talk with your doctors. Follow pre-op instructions about not eating and tell your anesthesiologist or the pre-op nurse about your risk factors (they will probably ask anyway). Also be sure to follow post-op instructions to the letter.
  • Acupressure relief bands. Some people say they have been helped by the accupressure relief bands that are sold over the counter. Bring one with you and ask that it be applied as soon as it is safe (usually after surgery, but sometimes before).
  • Start slow and go easy. When you get home, even if you feel hungry, start slowly with eating. start with soft, easy to digest foods. Eat little bits at a time and wait to see how you feel before moving on to harder-to-digest meals.
  • Liquid diet. Some people prefer to stay on liquid diets for the first day after anesthesia, and if you have had abdominal or gastrointestinal surgery, your diet will be restricted as ordered by your surgeon and advanced at their discretion.
  • Ginger. The herb is often recommended as another over-the-counter nausea reliever. Follow your postop instructions, as well.


  • Preventative medications. We can give prophylactic (preventative) medications to help reduce the risk of PONV. There are various drugs we can give alone or in combination, based on the level of risk and the risk/benefit ratio of each drug, because, yes, they have side effects too. Sometimes, we can alter the type of anesthetic or the medications used if the risk is significant.
  • Hydration. We also try to make sure you are properly hydrated, especially if you have gone a long period of time before your surgery without liquids.


Surgeons need to get the surgery done and cannot make significant alterations in procedure to avoid nausea and vomiting.

  • Anti-nausea medication. Surgeons can, at your request, prescribe an anti-nausea medicine along with the pain medicine that you will be taking. If you are prone to nausea and vomiting from the anesthetic, there is a good chance that the narcotic pain meds will make you sick, as well. So ask your surgeon in pre-op (before you are too out of it to remember) to prescribe the anti-nausea medicine.

#3: Confusion

When coming out of anesthesia in the recovery, most people experience a profound sense of confusion and disorientation. It takes a while for the brain to actually wake up, even after you are conscious. Most people don't remember much after the pre-op sedative has been given.

However, some people remain confused for days or weeks, or longer after their surgery and anesthetic. This is an active field of study right now, called Post-Operative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD). One interesting thing to note, is that this effect doesn’t just occur with general anesthesia. Indeed, even patients who had other types of anesthesia that should not affect the brain profoundly have experienced POCD. It seems that other factors, such as the stresses of surgery and recovery on the body may also play a role.

We only know at this point that older patients and patients of lower socio-economic status have a higher risk for POCD. Active and diligent research continues to try to pinpoint who is at risk, why it occurs and what, if anything, can be done to prevent it.

#4: Muscle Aches

Often, if muscle aches accompany a sore throat, patients become concerned that they have the flu or that they “caught” something in the hospital. However, rest assured that both muscle aches and sore throats are relatively common side effects.

Muscle aches result from one of the medicines used to relax or "paralyze" the muscles so as to make it easier to insert the breathing tube and perform the surgery. Succinylcholine causes the muscles to "fasiculate" or rapidly contract and relax. This response to the medication may make the muscles feel sore for a day or two after surgery.

Heating pads and tylenol can be used for symptom relief, if anything at all is needed. Ask your surgeon before taking medicines like aspirin or ibuprofen as these can contribute to bleeding from recent surgical sites.

Muscle and joint soreness can also result from lying motionless on the operating bed for extended periods of time. Unlike normal sleep, your body can't even make minor adjustments in position while you are under anesthesia. If you have pre-existing problems with soreness or stiffness, tell your nurse and anesthesiologist. If it doesn't interfere with the surgery, they may be able to pad or support that area differently to try to help.

#5: Itching

A curious side effect of narcotic pain medication (often used as part of the anesthetic) is itching. Most people complain of itching on their face, especially the tip of the nose. Sometimes, people will have significant, all-over body itching and believe they are having an allergic reaction (and it can be hard to tell the difference), but most of the time, it's just a side-effect.

Luckily, Benadryl can easily treat this side effect. However, first make sure it's ok to take over-the-counter medicines with the prescriptions you have been given. In the hospital, patients can get a special medicine that block the receptor responsible for itching but not pain relief, which is even more effective.

Narcotics are routinely used during anesthetics to block pain receptors and often cannot be avoided. Tell you anesthesia provider if you have had this bothersome side effect in the past.

#6: Emotional Outbursts

A rather curious and common, although less-researched, side effect of anesthesia are emotional displays or outbursts after awakening. It should be stressed that in no way are these displays of emotion under voluntary control of the patient and if you have one of these extreme emotional reactions, it will not be held against you in any way. We know it's the meds.

A young man may wake up combative and in "fight" mode. Very often, their occupation or background gives clues that this may be an issue. With certain patients, particularly those in the military, law enforcement, or former prison inmates, I make sure to have extra medication on hand in order to calm an overly aggressive emergence from anesthesia. Luckily, the patient’s aggression usually resolves in less than five minutes; as they wake up, they are able to be “reoriented” to where they are and settle down on their own. Even when someone is very agitated, I probably give a sedative less than 10% of the time and only if I feel the patient may hurt himself or someone else (I got thumped in the sternum pretty hard once, so I have the medication ready, just in case!).

Young women usually are at the other end of the spectrum. Women from puberty on, seem more likely to wake up tearful and crying. When they are awake enough to talk, they cannot explain why they are crying and don't say they feel particularly sad most of the time. They just can't stop crying. This usually lasts less than 15 or 30 minutes.


Anesthesia may sound potentially scary and unpleasant. But keep in mind that all medications have side effects. The very powerful, potent, anesthetic agents are certainly no exception. No one, not even your anesthesiologist can predict how you will feel or what side effects you will have. If you are having surgery, talk to the pre-op nurse or the anesthesiologist (or both) about any concerns that you have. The risks and benefits of the anesthetic can be discussed with you. Chances are, though, that even with some of the side effects, you will still likely decide to have your surgery with anesthesia rather than without it!

More by this Author

Remember, never rely on the internet as your only source of advice or help. Call your surgeon or surgery center for any issues. 337 comments

wnorm 5 weeks ago

I am 63 and had 2 1/2 hour laparoscopic abdominal rectal prolapse surgery (no resection) 8 days ago. I had g.a. and took 5 mg morphine tabs every 4 or so hours +tylenol +advil for about 2 1/2 days post surgery as prescribed. I was originally supposed to be admitted for 3 days. However, as there were no complications, etc I was released ~ about 7 hours after surgery.

I have a history of motion sickness and vertigo. About 1 day after surgery, I started to feel a bit nauseous and dizzy. However, the nausea and dizziness are increasing progressively with time. I am unsteady on my feet. I do not have nystagmus or the spinning sensation. I have normal blood pressure. I do not have any underlying medical conditions that could cause this dizziness. None of my present medications are suspect. I tried unsuccessfully to reach the surgeon by phone. I could only reach the pharmacist who suggested that I take 16 mg Novo-Histidine 3x/day for ~ 3 days and then get seen by a doctor if the symptoms persist.

I understand that the surgical position was: supine postion with head down and feet up at I would guess ~ 60degrees.

Are symptoms of nausea and dizziness common after g.a. and this specific surgical position? What do you suggest?

donna christian 5 weeks ago

does cause sweating after a vocal cord stripping remove

Recently Diagnosed 6 weeks ago

I'm doing surgery in less than a month for uterine fibroids and the taught of having to go though such an evasive procedure scares me but I've got no choice but to go on with it, so since i can't run away from it cause it'll eventually catch up to me, my question is - what is the level of pain i will be hsving after surgery?, i have a low treshold of pain, great information by the way. THANKS YOU!!!

Paula 7 weeks ago

to Jarrad2557 and any others:

Is it possible that the reactions can be caused by a defective MTHFR gene? Take a minute to do your own research to learn about it and consider getting tested. There are 2 types of this gene that can be defective. These genes are responsible for detoxifying your body as well as converting folic acid to folate, which affects the brain.

Just a thought that may be worthy of further investigation. Best of luck and good health to all.


Corey Stanley 2 months ago

I have a serious question. Is it normal for general anesthesia to cause a sort of nonexistent state where you're there and you know but you can't do a single thing. I had my wisdom teeth removed and when I woke up I was out of it. I was so out of it that I knew I was awake I heard there was around me and was in the state of being where I just couldn't actually function. I couldn't talk the matter how much I wanted to I couldn't form stable sentences in my mind and I couldn't move I needed assistance even going to the car after the operation. It was scary to my family and I was in that catatonic state for about a good maybe four or five maybe six hours afterwards. I was just curious if that was normal?

Missy Justice 3 months ago

I had a lung endoscopy/biopsy conducted by Pikeville Medical Center located in Pikeville, Ky. It was an outpatient endoscopy. I had no problems anywhere throughout my entire body prior to this endoscopy. As soon as the anesthesia wore off, I immediately experienced an extreme pounding pain in my tongue. I have a constant metallic taste in my mouth that will not allow me to taste food. The top right side of my tongue is numb, but I have full movement under my tongue. Due to the numbness on top of my tongue, the numbness in my tongue goes all the way down my throat. Of course we all know we only have one throat, however, it feels like I have 2 separate tubes going down my throat. Swallowing is very difficult due to the constant fear of choking to death on anything I eat or drink. This surgery took place October 2015 and all of the symptoms are still here to this day. I went to an ENT and was told it may go away tomorrow, 2 weeks from now, a month from now or NEVER. This pain is excruciating. I swear it feels like my tongue is going to pound out of my mouth. I wonder if I bite my tongue off if that will stop the pain or intensify it. When I bite down on the nerve, it cuts off the excruciating pain, however, clamping down on my tongue with my teeth is leaving gashes in my tongue. Does anyone have any advice? I can't get in touch with an anesthesiologist in my area, it's extremely rural where I live and no one seems to want to contradict the only hospital in my area. I would really appreciate any help I can get to fix this torture chamber that's been left in my mouth by the doctor or his staff.

Linda Robinson60 profile image

Linda Robinson60 4 months ago from Cicero, New York

So nice meeting you Tahoe Doc. wow what a fascinating hub, and it is so thoroughly written and so much detail and super photos, that this is definitely a must read for all those that have fear of being put under for a surgery, superior hub. I look forward to following you and reading all of your extraordinary hubs. :) Linda

Jim 5 months ago

I have had 20 surgeries in 33 years of my 42 on this earth, and a quarter of those were in my first 6 months of life. My major concerns are what are the long term side effects?

But there are some good effects though. The funny little hallucinations, the euphoria of the narcotics, the general well being and happiness. I think I only ever got 2 or 3 doses of vomiting and those were mainly from spinal surgery.

roob profile image

roob 7 months ago

Some people might enjoy the side effects and not find them annoying. The narcotics can produce euphoria especially when IV'd.

kkson10 7 months ago

why does it take me a long time to finally go under when I am given general anesthesia? Sometimes I remember anesthesiologists getting upset with me because I was not going under quickly enough and sometimes I don't remember when the mask was placed over my face. The anesthesiologists, however, tell me each time in recovery that it took me a long time to go under.

Taranwanderer profile image

Taranwanderer 8 months ago

Wow - this is a heckuva hub. I've never been under (as far as I can remember) so now I know what to expect should I ever need surgery.

jarrod2557 10 months ago

Well, where to begin about my first surgery of my 40 years. I had a hyperactive gall bladder removed. Upon waking up from surgery the worst 2 weeks of my life began. It starts of pretty humours then after 2 weeks my loved ones are filling me in on a few days of blacking out. Absolutely no memory.

I woke up from surgery and asked my nurse if I was naked, then tugging on my IV line asking why I have a catheter and then asked this poor nurse if she took my pants off and if she like what she saw. My mother filled me in on this by the video she took. I'm a joker but not that blunt ever! I have social/ gen. anxiety disorder, ADHD and moderate OCD if this applies anywhere thru this. Im quite happy, kind and caring, whitty and creative. But most of all loving, respectful and usually on the antsy side with my conditions when I take my anxiety and adhd meds. But off them for several days to recover. The day after my surgery I found a lump on my testicle and didnt talk about it with anyone and going to deal with it after the holiday.

Now things really begin. So about a week goes by and I am heeling great and feeling wonderful, physically! Mentally, I turned into a negative ass that obsessed and dwelled on pointless issues. No appetite at all losing 17 lbs in 2 weeks. Just after a week this is where I begin to go blank, having no memory and dwelling on my coin purse and the lump I found earlier. So I'm functioning talking to my girlfriend telling her she deserves better than me, I'm no good, I'm a piece of shit not only shit but I'm at the bottom of that pile. Luckily she knows about anesthesia and its effects but not like this. She knew I was no at home in my head! I started a little spat with her which I escalated the to me thinking she dumped me, I'm losing my best friend, love and support and I'm going to die alone. All this in 10-15min she informed me when I came around 4 days later. I nearly checked into a place for a Psych evaluation. It's very disturbing having no knowledge of 4 days and functioning in my home but not in public that I know about yet. Plus receiving confirmation I updated beneficiaries with no knowledge.

I didn't quite realize that I was averaging 3 1/2 hours of sleep a night, hallucinations in low light areas, less than 500-900 calories intake daily, crying daily, stress over the boys and possible cancer, severe feeling of dread, fear and severe self image issues and bashing.

I feel all of this was triggered by the general anesthesia. Followed up by my existing mental health issues, surgery killing my appetite, lack of sleep and obsessively stressing about the lump which turned out being a cyst that formed after my vasectomy. I saw my shrink and she felt I might be allergic to the anesthesia first off. Then, with all the stress I held in along with all contributing factors part of my brain shutdown and basically in simple terms I was sleep walking for 4 days. I'm due for another surgery way more severe than my gall bladder but terrified now. Its at least a 6-10 hour surgery to fuse 2 levels in my neck, bone spurs, stenosis repair, spondylosis repair. Should I order a straight jacket and leash now for my Seriously tho! I need insight please... Thank you for any help!

waelhamdi 10 months ago

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 12 months ago from Northeast Ohio

TahoeDoc, I believe I'm allergic to anasthesia, (and I"m also allergic to sulfa drugs), when I had surgery from a root canal to my open heart surgery, 3 years ago. I do throw up from it. This is a great hub. Real useful and informative too.

iswanso 13 months ago

I had angioplasty 3 days ago, after surgery they placed me on a CPAP machine for about 2 hours. Ever since the day after I feel like I have the flu. I ran fever for about 12 hours and then it returned to normal. But my back hurts between shoulder blades, and I just feel punk. Is this a normal reaction? No swelling or pain in groin where entry was made, the only pain is in my back

lynn 13 months ago

I had an op and given mac anesthesia 9/9 at 11 am. It is now 9/10 @ 10:30 pm and I have continued having low blood pressure like 106/50 and sliw heart rate in he 40's. At about 3pm I started feeling like my head and ears were and still feel pressurized and my body feels sort of heavy. I was given Hydrocodon Acetaminophen to take for pain at home and have only used 3. What should I do?

VicWNB 14 months ago

Thank you for the education, TahoeDoc. In the span of 5 days I had gone through a failed ERCP, followed by a successful one and then an open cholecystectomy 2 months back and still going through sleep deprivation, itching and easily getting tired. I had no pre-op or post-op orientation about possible effects of being under, so these information are very useful for me to understand what I'm going through and what to expect.

Scotty0boy 16 months ago

I had general anesthesia three years ago and suffered from POCD for five weeks. I could not remember the previous 30 days, could not remember how to do my job, and felt like I was behind a veil that I couldn't pierce to get to my brain! My neurologist told me that up to 16% of people over the age of 60 can get POCD and some will develop dementia and basically come out of anesthesia with dementia. I was fortunate in that my cognitive function returned, but it was one heck of a 5 week wait. I now consider general anesthesia a life or death decision for me.

silverlining19 20 months ago the age of 19, I had liposuction done 12 years ago under general anesthesia (1 1/2 hour long) . I woke up hours later feeling sick and nauseous but managed to feel somewhat normal after the first day or two. It wasn't until day three when I experienced horrible feelings of what may be described as delirium or POCD? These symptoms were almost chronic for a year and I still deal with symptoms that float around. Some symptoms include feeling highly anxious, brain fog/zaps, hot/cold flushes, muscle tightness/twitches, body heaviness/sluggish, onset of some cognitive issues (depersonalizations/derealization, OCD). It literally felt like I was trapped in my body and needed to escape. I had myself checked out numerous times from all type of speciality doctors with negative results (blood work, MRI, SPECT, stress test). I caved in and sought psychologist who diagnosed me with PTSD/anxiety disorder. In your opinion, can the surgery be the result of anxiety or can anesthesia effect the brain like this 3+ days later? I'm just looking for the old me and I miss feeling comfortable in my body. I have been doing much better but not quite there yet. Thanks and take care...

Dely 20 months ago

One of the reasons more educated, professional people do not report confusion lasting more than a day or two ...may be the fact that you report that lower socio economic and elderly have more problems. I am older but held a professional job that required much organization until retirement. I could not remember why I put certain things on my desk "to do" for three days following surgery. On the fourth day I remembered and quickly attached notes as reminders. However, I did not forget again. So long as you report that higher socio econ do not report, they will not. I am reporting that it happened to me as I stated. I am now in day five and curious to see if anything else pops up. Maybe we are just more patient or have more time and opportunity to wait out the inconveniences. What say you?

mistiblue95 2 years ago

I had surgery a week ago. now my arms and hands start itching and swell been taking benydrel but as soon as it wears off it starts again. how long does this last.

My Bell profile image

My Bell 2 years ago

Well done article! I had anesthesia for a lengthy brain surgery (MVD for trigeminal neuralgia) last Fall and had a horrible experience with nausea and vomiting (more dry heaves) for about 24 hours afterwards. It was the worst part of my recovery. I wish I had read this beforehand although I do think I was given the anti-nausea meds by the anesthesiologist and surgeon after. I woke up absolutely burning up in the immediate recovery area when I came to, so badly that they were putting ice all over me. I still don't know why that would happen as I never did ask about it. It's nice to see doctors on here providing such great advice. Thank you!

naved007 profile image

naved007 2 years ago

One anesthesiologist I had gave me some very good advice once. If you still feel sleepy afterward, then keep on sleeping until it wears off. Don't fight drowsiness! I tried it and it was the best sleep I ever had.

Travis1782 2 years ago

Hi Tahoedoc,

I am a twenty year old male in very good health. A week ago I had my tonsils removed and had no problems after waking up from the anesthesia. Unfortunately I began bleeding severely on day five and had to have emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. After the second procedure I woke up shaking uncontrollably and was very confused what was going on. If I remember correctly I was given Demerol to calm me down. I stayed the night in the hospital and didn't have any complications. The next night, sleeping at home, I woke up shaking and tensing exactly as I did after waking up from the anesthesia. Can you tell if this is common or not and what could have caused this event?

TahoeDoc profile image

TahoeDoc 2 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

You have no idea how happy this makes me & how much it means. Makes it worth it to take the time to write & answer questions. I wish I could do it even more consistently! Thank you!! For coming back & letting me know.

Rachel Again 2 years ago

Just had to thank you again... I had surgery in November, still chasing those pesky fibroids, this surgeon got them ALL! It's because of your article and the last great anesthesiologist that I knew I could talk to the anesthesiologist this time. I made it clear to every prep person I needed to talk to the anesthesiologist and together we made the decision to use propofol. The nurse had big problems getting the IV in, as usual, and the anesthesiologist helped distract me. Working together- everything went smooth. Never felt pain. Went for Jamaican food after surgery :)

threenorns 2 years ago

i've had many (many!) surgeries requiring general anaesthesia (most common being cranio-facial surgery for harelip/cleft palate and D&C after miscarriage). i never get the nausea (yesterday, i had my gallbladder out and was eating a meditteranean wrap right after leaving the hospital).

what i get is, i wake up STARVING - i mean ***starving***, to the point i could seriously start chewing on my own arm (mom said that happened when i was a toddler - they had to put restraints on me). that's fine - i can eat (obviously).

the other thing is the breath. i mean, wth is with the breath? it's been over 24hrs and still i'm getting anaesthetic smell and dizziness when i cough or take a deep breath.

TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 2 years ago

It is interesting that you wrote this right now because I just had a major "go round" with my pain management doctor because his anesthesia people have been using Fentanyl with me, despite the fact that I have asked them directly not to do so due to the fact that this stuff really has a bad after affect on me. WHAT can they be thinking?

dylan 2 years ago

after having upper teeth pulled i was sneezing and now have runny nose, is this from oxygen in my nose when will it get batter

ChristinRK profile image

ChristinRK 2 years ago from Sioux Falls, SD

In November 2012 I had anesthesia administered 9 times over a period of 3 weeks (for ECT). Fortunately, I did not experience any of the side effects you have researched and listed. I understand confusion and memory loss are very common with ECT (thankfully, I did not experience that either).

After the third treatment I had, upon waking from the anesthesia I could not breathe! It was one of the most frightening moments of my life.

Prior to the following treatment the doctors administered some other type of anesthesia so I wouldn't wake up gasping for air. The doctors said that not being able to breathe after anesthesia is not common.

What exactly caused this to happen?

Great article and thank you for sharing it!

Jenn-Anne profile image

Jenn-Anne 2 years ago

Interesting hub! I had surgery last month and over-all had very few side effects from the anesthesia. However, it did seem to take my body a while to get back into a normal rythm again - I just didn't feel like myself for several weeks. I don't know how much of that is because of the anesthesia and how much was a normal part of the healing process. Thanks for sharing your insight and expertise - voted up!

mhastings72 2 years ago

I had a Sleeve Gatrectomy 8 days ago. The past couple of days I have had these spells of getting very sleepy, and feeling very drugged. Arms feel very heavy and like I can't control them, slurred speech, unbalanced, just feel like I'm drugged. Would this be an after effect of anesthesia? How long does anesthesia stay in your body?

CeraHoff 2 years ago

So I had shots in my lower back for pain, and they used an IV and called it 'Conscious sedation'. I woke up in the night with terrible heartburn, and it's still here this morning. Could it be from this procedure? Heartburn is kind of a rarity for me. Thanks.

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Hester Prynne 2 years ago from Lemoore, California

Is this the right place to ask a question? I had a total hip replacement five years ago. I have severe sleep apnea and asthma. I woke up 2 days after the surgery. Also I was afraid I could not breathe. I asked for something for anxiety and then was hallucinating and delusional for days. Could you shed any light on this?

Patient. 3 years ago

I went in to get four wisdom teeth removed and when I woke up they only had done two, and left a huge whole on the bottom where they attempted to remove a third one when I became combative. I'm an 18 year old female with no history of "gang related violence". Needless to say they were very rude to me when I woke up and apologized and they told me to find somewhere else to go because I was a danger to be worked on in their office. I was given 15mg of anesthetics during the procedure.

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RobinBull 3 years ago from Moore, Oklahoma

I dealt with the itching and confusion. When I had heart surgery, I kept waking up ON THE TABLE. When I was being wheeled to recovery the doctor looked at me and said, "Don't worry. When you REALLY wake up, you won't remember this." Yeah, it's been 11 years. I still remember.

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lesliebyars 3 years ago from Alabama

This is so interesting and a wealth of information. I voted up and interesting!

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tsmog 3 years ago from Escondido, CA

Great article. Thank You Daughter or Maat for bringing it to my attention. I am rummaging through synapses and neurotransmitters seeking discovery. I had a thoracotomy of the right lung back in '06. I do not know what occurred or inquired regarding the operating room. I remember in the waiting area before surgery with many other patients they gave me a shot and said I will fade and I did. They did the prep work. I remember the conversation of the nurses like a hazy dream. That did affect me.

I remember awakening and I had one sock one foot and the other was gone. My sister and her husband were standing at the foot of the gurney. I asked them to give me my sock back. Then I think I faded again. My next memory was in the ICU I believe and hooked up to stuff.

The odd part is I have a blank spot of either no memory or as termed a cheesecloth effect for near two or more months. I just have simply an inability to recall for about a few days before the surgery back for a month to two months. I did have an early amnesia experience back in '78 two and the retrograde experience was years. Not sure if those two correlate or not.

I don't remember any sickness. I seem to remember I had a mask or nostril tube in ICU until a point. I was quezzy when they made me walk around the ICU center and balanced myself against the wall for a few days. After transferred to a hospital and later discharged I was more hyperactive, but I attributed that to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and hypomania, so not sure if a side effect of not.

Great article TahoeDoc! And, thank you for the experience of sharing. I think it did help with stuff I am going through today. Awesome . . .


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Daughter Of Maat 3 years ago from Rural Central Florida

I love your hubs! The last time I had general anesthesia, I ended up with a migraine that lasted four days. Lortab didn't touch it, and they wouldn't give me anything else. My neck muscles were also achy which I think is what triggered the migraine (most of my migraines come from my neck). Great hub, voted up and shared!

Alissa 3 years ago

Hello there! I just was looking around on the Internet at about 3:00am due to not being able to sleep. I just had my wisdom teeth pulled this morning and it was the first time I've ever been "put under" for anything so I am definitely blessed thus far! I found this Hub to see if any questions or topics had been covered due to the issue of having problems sleeping after receiving anesthesia. I have been thoroughly impressed with your knowledge and expertise and feel better knowing that in a few short days time I will be back to normal! Thank you for taking the time to answer questions in a very thorough manner! Any patient would be lucky and blessed to have you as their anesthesiologist!

Connie Lake 3 years ago

I had surgery 24 hours ago. They had a hard time waking me up. I'm still very sedated and in a fog. How long will this last?

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TahoeDoc 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Christine- I'm not sure I have a great explanation for you that the cardiac testing wasn't able to find. I have seen people have severe vasovagal reactions (including something called the Jarrish-Bezold reaction) both under anesthesia, during surgery and after it. It doesn't have to be at the time of an injection, either. But, it usually is related to some event- needle, nerves, reaction to some other sensation on the body, changing position (standing up, especially if dehydrated). It's possible that the anesthetics and dehydration make you more prone to have these reactions and lower the threshold for some usually innocent stimulus to set it off.

Other than that, it would be hard to say what causes this. The fact that it happened twice warrants more investigation or a question to your primary doctor, in my mind, just to be cautious. See if your primary doctor has any suggestions- for example, was the circulation to your brain checked (carotid ultrasound) with the heart testing. Would a neurologist be useful for some kind of testing to see if there is a nervous system reaction? Has you thyroid been checked? Blood chemistries?

Usually, the sleep apnea causes strange things (like arrhythmias) to happen during sleep, if and while the oxygen is low. Severe sleep apnea over a long period of time can cause more prevalent and long-lasting changes. Heart rate and electrical conduction can definitely be affected over time.

I would ask your primary doctor for your next move. It sounds like the first event was in the presence of health care practitioners. Ask for any records they have that recorded the event - notes, tracings if they have them from the EKG (usually they aren't captured/printed, sadly).

It's quite possible this will be determined to be a severe vasovagal reaction (I had a patient with this not long ago and his heart rate went to 20). If so, there are medications (robinul, for example) you can get prior to another surgery/anesthesia to keep your heart from slowing down if that is the problem.

I haven't even asked if you are taking any medicines. Some meds, such as beta-blockers or other blood pressure medicines, can make this more likely to happen.

Good luck to you and let me know how it goes when you talk to your doc.

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TahoeDoc 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author



Christine 3 years ago

Thank you for your great answers to so many people!

5 years ago I had a tubal ligation with twilight anesthesia. Everything went well and I was ready to get up and go home, when suddenly my heart stopped and I awoke approximately 1 mintue later with about 8 people standing around my bed shouting at me (scary!). They were ready to start CPR and use the defibrillator, but fortunately I came around without such help. After several heart tests over the next week or so, it was determined that there was nothing wrong with me. I had received a toradol shot just prior to the heart-stopping incident and they ended up labeling it an extreme vasovagal syncope reaction (based on my history of sometimes passing out because I HATE needles).

Yesterday I had an endometrial ablation done with the same anesthesia. Because of the prior incident everyone agreed that skipping the toradol injection would be a great idea. Again, I was perfectly fine after the procedure. I got dressed and was wheeled out of the hospital to my husband. About 5 minutes after we left the hospital, the same exact thing happened. I passed out, eyes rolled back, completely unresponsive and weak or no pulse. This time it lasted around 2 minutes and I woke up with him shouting at me (scary again!). It was so weird because both times I was fine for a good half-hour after the surgery, then my heart quit and I spent the next few hours groggy, nauseus and miserable.

Clearly this was not a vasovagal reaction to an injection because the injection never occurred yesterday. Could it have anything to do with the possibility that I have sleep apnea? I've not been diagnosed, but I meet all the internet criteria. Do you have any idea about what could have happened? Any advice would be great...thanks!!

Yolanda S 3 years ago

I had my gall bladder removed last week, and during my post-op, I had a very severe reaction to the anesthesia. I woke up yelling, trying to stand on the bed but what made it worst was that the Anesthesiologist along with two nurses were laughing at my reaction, not trying to calm me down, it continued when i was taken to my room, the nurse let me crawl from the post-op bed to my hospital bed, the whole time I was telling him it wasn't funny and to help, he made a small move to help but it was my assigned room nurse that came in and helped me calm down.

Since then I have had some very severe body aches not just from the surgery but I think from all the jumping and crawling around I did. I have had several surgeries so I am pretty familiar with the "common" side effects, nothing like this.

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TahoeDoc 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

I had angallbladder removed 5 days ago. Right after the surgery my co2 levels dropped to below 80. A week later and after 5 days in the hospital they are back up to 94-98%. Could this have been the anesthesia? I've heard so many guesses it has me concerned I have greater issues. Should I just rule this as a post surgery fluke that lasted 5 days?


It's really hard to even guess without knowing more about you or the events before, during and after your surgery. There are some general factors that can cause oxygen (I assume you meant o2 and not co2) to drop after gall bladder surgery. These include pain and pain medicines, obesity, sleep apnea, aspiration pneumonia, difficulty reinflating part of a lung due to either the breathing tube/ventilator or due to pressure put on the lung from the gas put in the abdomen for laparoscopy, inability to take a deep breath related to all of the above or other factors...

Ask your surgeon at your follow up visit what they decided was the main cause. There are just too many variables and potential factors to have any idea without the whole story. Sorry I can't give more insight and I hope that you are feeling better!!

Lori 3 years ago

I had angallbladder removed 5 days ago. Right after the surgery my co2 levels dropped to below 80. A week later and after 5 days in the hospital they are back up to 94-98%. Could this have been the anesthesia? I've heard so many guesses it has me concerned I have greater issues. Should I just rule this as a post surgery fluke that lasted 5 days?

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TahoeDoc 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author


I wouldn't say it's typical, but not abnormal either, meaning, I don't think it means anything is wrong or went wrong. There is just a very wide range of ways people react to the meds and procedures.

Hopefully, you are feeling back to normal soon and be glad to have that necessary but not widely-loved :) procedure over with.

Take care and thanks for visiting!

P.ayers 3 years ago

I had an endoscopy done Tuesday...after I was wired to the hilt. couldn't sleep . On Wednesday and Thursday I slept a lot. Today I woke up at 7 am and at 8 am I went back to sleep and slept till 2 pm.. is this common?

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AnnieLightning 3 years ago from Tauranga, New Zealand

Thank you very much TahoeDoc - so lovely of you to give your time when you must be so busy!

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TahoeDoc 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Yes, I think that would be the only way to know for sure. Let me know if you do find out as I'm curious too :) Plus, it would be good for you to know in the future!

MRIGUY1000 3 years ago

Thank you for your quick response. I'm assuming that the following statement "If you actually felt giddy, it's likely there was one or more of those drugs used too." was referring to versed, nitrous oxide and propofol. I've had versed and nitrous oxide on previous occasions and did not experience anything like the effect I wrote about. Based on what you said about titrated propofol, I could see how it might lessen the chances I'd wake up angry, but I don't see how it would explain the profound feeling of happiness I experienced. Just to be clear, I never "wake up swinging". That would be my son Jake when he was 4. My son Josh woke up crying at the same age. I'm just angry, grouchy or in a bad mood, but not violent. The feeling of happiness I felt was so intense and unlike anything I have ever felt before that it leads me to believe it was induced by a very specific action taken by the anesthesiologist. I guess the only way to resolve this is to contact him and see if he has an explanation, Thank you again for your help.

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TahoeDoc 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author


I often hear that people have a history of waking that way. Men, often those in the military, law enforcement or jail wake up swinging.

When I hear this, I tell the patient a few things. First, I talk to them quite a lot. I tell them to get used to the sound of my friendly :) voice. When they hear me at the end of the operation, they will recognize it and 'do what I say' (my joke) and wake up nice and calm. This is a small factor, but one that probably contributes to a smoother wake up in some way.

The more important thing I do is to let the wake up happen more gradually. I might give some extra medications like the sedative that is often given preoperatively (midazolam, Versed). Propofol titrated in very small amounts as the patient is waking up, also helps to smooth and slow the wakeup so that you can gradually regain consciousness and remember where you are and that there is no threat.

It is also possible that you woke up on nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as another agent to ease you back to consciousness. Usually, the effects of that are pretty short-lived though.

Usuallly, it's a combination of psychological factors and chemical/medicinal ones that make the difference. I have found that just reassuring the patient and then telling them ahead of time (I like to do it when they are going to sleep too- more suggestible) that they will wake up happy will lead to a better wake up.

If you actually felt giddy, it's likely there was one or more of those drugs used too. Glad it was a better experience for you!!

MRIGUY1000 3 years ago

Hello Doc and thank you for providing such a great service. My name is David, I'm 52 and had cervical surgery two weeks ago. The surgery went well and I'm recovering nicely. I've been told that in the past I'm angry when I wake up from surgery. My wife told the anesthesiologist this prior to this last surgery. He said something like "I'll take care of that". It was something a long the lines like he was going to do something to reduce or avoid it happening. When I woke up I was extremely happy, giddy even. I can't say I've ever felt anything like it. This went on for what seemed like hours but had to be at least about an hour. My wife was there and I kept thanking her for staying with me. I couldn't stop saying how happy I was. Do you have any idea what the anesthesiologist gave me to cause this result?

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TahoeDoc 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Likely, the sedative made you start to feel like you were drifting off. Then as you are breathing oxygen, other medicines are given in your intravenous line that make you go all the way to sleep. So, it's possible you were breathing oxygen like he said, but were getting the anesthesia induction agents (I call them 'all the way to sleep medicines' for my patients) in the IV.

Glad it went well.

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TahoeDoc 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

I am so glad to hear this went well knowing how anxious you were. Thank you so much for reporting back and letting me know. Happy Holidays.

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TahoeDoc 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Usually, those type of issues are with the swallowing mechanism as controlled by the brain, rather than structural issues in the throat. A stroke or decline in mental functioning are possible after anesthesia and surgery and are the more likely cause, usually, anyway.

I have never heard of aspiration (food going to lungs rather than esophagus) following anesthesia due to damage to structures in the throat.

If he had other changes, like weakness or signs of stroke, this is more likely. It's really hard to say without a full exam to assess his overall function.

I'm sorry I can't really say what's going on without more info. I haven't really heard of long-time feeding issues due to damage from the breathing tube or its placement.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Fred 3 years ago

My brother had a hip bone operation five months ago. Up to this time he cannot be fed thru the mouth becuase the food once swallowed goes to the lungs instead of the stomach. Is it possible that the esophagus was damaged due to the procedure/method used in the application of anesthesia? Is it also possible the the esophagus collapsed due to anesthesia?

Rachel Again 3 years ago

Just poking my head back in to say I had the FUS procedure with oral sedatives and everything went just fine. Getting a catheter was not a biggie, and I only remember sometimes getting antsy in the MRI and asking for breaks.

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AnnieLightning 3 years ago from Tauranga, New Zealand

Thank you for the work you do - you take such care - and train so well and so hard.

I had a surgery today and have an odd question. I was given a pre-op (remembered the whole thing though) and the anaesthetist gave me what must have gas been, first. He said it was oxygen, and I needed to take deep breaths to get it fully into my lungs. This must have been mixed with gas because his voice was getting more and more difficult to concentrate on. (I'm pretty sure I had some anaesthetic in my line after this when I was out) He then said 'Annie, I am going to tell you everything we are doing, you will not be left in the dark' and that was it! I was out! So did I basically 'drift off' before he thought I would (before he'd finished speaking) or was it a trick? He was absolutely lovely and straight up through the whole process from woe to go so I guess I just conked out but just interested to know your opinion, Doctor? :)

sandi 4 years ago

i have faced anesthesia .because of fistulla surgery that day onwards i am loss mysexual intest is decreases what can i do??

please give me suggetion.........

Lizzy_Lou 4 years ago

Hi there, I was also curious about the effects of Anaesthetic on hair. I had a termination of pregnancy two days ago and was put under general Anaesthetic for a short time (the procedure was around 20 minutes). I have heard that Anaesthetic can damage hair, and am feeling slightly paranoid. I am due to have my hair bleached and dyed next week, is this a good idea? Can being under Anaesthetic for so little time even cause such a side-effect?

Ariadne Van Zandbergen 4 years ago


I had a full anesthetic to remove a mirena that had moved out of place. It was a very quick and simple procedure. When I came by, I was in a lot of pain and discomfort from the anesthetic and was a bit out of breath. My chest area was very sore. I heard that this is all normal after a general anesthetic. It is now 5 weeks after the op and my chest still isn't completely fine. I've been to see my GP and took anti-inflammerary pills first. After that we tried antibiotics for a possible infection. Non of it seems to help. I'm not in a lot of pain, it is more a slight discomfort. I'm usually a very active person and I normally run every other day. I feel I can't do any sport now and I've go low energy levels. Any ideas?

RachelAgain 4 years ago


I don't know if you've already proceeded, and I am not a doctor but I have had MAC a whole bunch of times and I have had hysteroscopy twice this year (see below, way below).

First- MAC rocks. I've had it for marsupialization (vaginal), colonoscopies, endoscopies, excisional biopsies, lumpectomies, I don't know if that's what they used for my wisdom tooth extraction... MAC may be more than one thing, they might use different drugs and they might have lighter and heavier uses. I always ask them to be sure I am really out, OUT out. Heavy MAC I think it's called. It's so simple, you have an IV, they add the drugs, count to 3 and for just a moment you feel a nice high and then next thing you're waking up thinking nothing happened.

It may be they use propofol, the same drug Michael Jackson liked too much.

For my hysteroscopies, they used General Anesthesia. I had two experiences with hysteroscopies with GA and they could not have been more different, to say the least. (I said a whole lot below.) The first was a horror show, the second was a honeymoon. What made the difference? Really, I think it comes down to the anesthesiologist and procedure at the facility, and the surgeon. The second experience was at a different hospital, and this hospital allows and encourages patients to ask questions, meet their professionals, have discussions about their concerns. The second anesthesiologist asked me about my concerns, I related my terrible previous experience with GA and my great experience with MAC, she came up with a plan to use MAC drugs as GA, and she used a humidifying machine to keep my throat moist- it felt better after surgery than it did coming in! I think she used LMA as described above, and I learned so much from reading this information above, about what to ask, how it works, etc.

I also recently got frightened for no particular reason about an MRI- a freaking MRI for crying out loud, there's no pain there, why was I so scared? This facility let me come in and check out how they do things and worked out with me how to address my fears, even things I myself felt were pointless and stupid.

So what I mean to say to you is to validate your concern, while letting you know that it should be pretty easy on you, but encourage you to ask more questions and adopt a sort of shopping attitude about where you get your procedure done.

Another point, you said your doctor feels there is a polyp, but you didn't say what evidence there was. My best pal had a polyp and hysteroscopic surgery to remove it, all successful, but she did have a bad time with recovery. I can ask her more about it, if you're still reading and haven't already moved on this. I do know she went to a hospital that we have learned since really well... its not a great one. I had MRIs that showed fibroids, and I was having some serious issues.

Be discerning.

Best wishes

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi there. I'm sorry you had an unsatisfactory experience after your surgery.

1). The sweating can be normal. As long as there are no other symptoms (high fever, muscle rigidity, wheezing, etc) it usually passes on its own.

2). The sweating may or may not be associated with an increased metabolism depending on the reason or the associated symptoms.

3). Once criteria are met for consciousness, control of nausea, etc, a patient may be discharged. It's really individual to each patient, surgery center and experience. Some centers have minimum stays of one hour.

I'm sorry I can't give you specific answers for your situation. I've learned over the years that unless you have the whole picture (the record and details), it's not fair to judge someone else's judgement. You really shouldn't feel rushed out, though.

The only thing I can say is that pain should be under reasonable control before discharge. It is true that you would have to stay longer if pain meds were given, but that is not enough reason to withhold pain meds unless a patient was insisting on leaving (which it doesn't sound like here). If you are going to stay, even for the 24 hour observation, your surgeon has to approve that and write the order for it. The nurses can only call him/her and relay your request to the surgeon.

The anesthesiologist is usually the person who orders pain meds in the recovery room. The nurses are not allowed to give it unless they have that order. After neck surgery, we worry more about breathing and airway issues and sometimes are more conservative in ordering them. This concern would be compounded if a longer-acting med (like dilaudid) had already been given but hadn't reached it's peak effect yet. Safety comes even before comfort. I'm not saying that's what happened to you but just to point out that there are sometimes reasons that things are done a certain way and explain why I can't speculate on what happened in your case. There are just too many variables.

I'm sorry I can't help more and hope I've explained what I do know well enough. I'm glad the nurse called, but if you still have questions, call them back and politely ask them to explain (they will be less defensive and more willing to help if it isn't registered as a complaint first, but as a question).

Good luck and I hope you are recovering well!

jacban 4 years ago

Hello. I have 3 questions posted below my scenario:

4 weeks ago I had an Outpatient surgery in a hospital, a Sistrunk Procedure; with general anesthesia and endotracheal intubation. My husband was told I was under anesthesia for 2hr 45min. When I came to in the recovery room, I heard a nurse referencing the need for additional wet wash clothes and could feel extreme sweating all over my body. I must have gone back to sleep for a bit as the next thing I remembered I had someone standing over me telling me to wake up so I can leave. I had physical pain and asked for pain meds but was told they could not give them to me because I needed to be discharged and if they gave me pain meds, I would have to stay longer. I told them that was fine, send me "upstairs" for a while to finish my recovery, but they refused. (I had been told by admissions, that I could stay for 24hrs if I needed to, without being admitted.) The hospital staff preached "stay ahead of the pain for the first 24hrs", yet they would not provide me relief from the pain from a major neck surgery where they had taken a large neck cyst, part of the hyoid bone, and left a considerable blake drain dangling from my neck. I was sent home 1hr and 20minutes after I left the surgical suite. I was under anesthesia 2hrs and 45minutes. (I was under anesthesia more than twice as long as I was in the hospital post op care.) I wrote a letter of complaint to the hospital. The head nursed called me and told me that the reason the post op nurses had not given me pain meds was that I had been given a shot of dialoted (sp?) before leaving the surgical suite. I have 3 questions:

1) Is profuse sweating after this anesthesia process normal or a sign of allergic reaction?

2) Is it possible that the profuse sweating burned off the affects of the pain medicine given at the end of the surgical procedure (dialoted)?

3) Is it responsible behavior to send someone home 1hr 20minutes after they wake up from a major surgery using general anesthesia and endotracheal intubation for a period of 2hr and 45?

Thank you in advance for addressing my questions.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

The fatigue can be from the overall experience/surgery/anesthesia/recovery combo. People don't always react the same way to each individual surgery and anesthesia.

The dizziness could be anything from dehydration to medication. But, one thing to consider is that any surgery in or around the ear can affect balance and cause dizziness. The vestibular system tends to be sensitive to both surgery in the area and to anesthesia.

Ten days is far enough out that you should probably run this by the surgeon's office and see if they have other thoughts. Good luck and be careful moving around if you are dizzy or feel unstable.

Rebecca 4 years ago

Hi. I had BAHA surgery 10 days ago after suddenly losing the hearing in my right ear. I have been very tired and dizzy for the last week. All I want to do is sleep. I don't know if it's from the surgery or general anesthesia. I had general anesthesia last summer when I had surgery to remove cervical cancer. But, I never had fatigue or dizziness like I do now.

Superanxious 4 years ago

I was scheduled to have a hysteroscopy with MAC anesthesia last month and I canceled it because I was so anxious about going under. My doctor feels there may be a polyp that needs to be removed. Realistically, I know I need to have the procedure. However, I just can't bring myself to do it. I have had anesthesia before and it was a struggle getting me to go through with it. How do I get through this?

asdf125 4 years ago


Thanks for posting this and answering so many questions, I hope you can help me as well since one of my side affects appears to be quite rare.

I had laparotomy months ago to remove a very large cyst. Twice. Both times I woke up in absolute agony. Nothing compares to it, it was like my body was in revenge mode and gave me what I was owed!! I dont know how long it lasted, could have been 20 minutes or hours.

A few more details..

First surgery failed as far as removing the cyst goes. I had a large horizontal incision, but it wasn't long enough. I recall the nurses giving me more morphine as I hadn't gotten the maximum dose before waking up, but it made absolutely no difference. The pain finally faded and was replaced with nausea which went untreated for hours. Dont you just hate when you cant reach the buzzer. I dont know if the surgery or the vomiting caused the haemorrhage but something did..

The nausea lasted 3 days, fasting provided a pleasant break from it on the 4th.

The haemorrhage was finally diagnosed the night between day 3 and 4 and I had the 2nd surgery on the 4th day.

The anaesthetist tried to tell me something that came across like a horror story, mainly because he never told me what he was on about until the very end and I was unable to focus enough to remember the whole story, so all I understood was that something was badly wrong/risky. So what was he on about? He wanted me to have an epidural, which I refused having a paralysed family member and only having magically recovered from severe needle phobia during the 1st surgery. Apparently that isn't a very good reason to refuse an epidural, but I wasn't having any of it. Reading about epidurals tonight and the C shape, I would most likely have been unable to get it anyway, the size of the cyst prevented me from curving my back even before the pain from the 1st surgery added to the issues.

So all I could do was hope the agony wouldn't be a problem again or that the morphine IV available in high dependency unit would be able to help.

It didn't. And this time I had a vertical exploratory style wound as well. I suspect they gave me anti nausea meds in the IV as well though and it definitely helped! Again, I dont know how long the agony lasted, but it faded same time as the constant but much duller pain from the catheter.

After an almost pleasant day in HDU I had to go back to the rubbish ward where I was considered too young to require any assistance by the majority of the staff. The vomiting continued another 2 days.

So... my questions:

The agony. What causes it and how common is it? Can anything be done about it without messing with my spine, alternative types of general anaesthetics, or? I may need dental surgery at some stage due to wisdom teeth, what can be done to help the pain following that? My surgeon told me it was probably due to the extend of the surgery, but I suspect she just tried to put my mind at ease in case I ever need future surgeries. No one else I talked to who had similar surgeries had anything close to the same experience as me.

The nausea. I know it is common, but is it common to last for so many hours? Days? Or was part of it due to the haemorrhage or other factors?

Reading. I am sure it has nothing to do with the anaesthetics as I was ok after the 2nd surgery, but I forgot to ask my surgeon about it.. The letters just refused to stay still between the two surgeries, what causes that? I got blood transfusions before and during the 2nd surgery in case it was related to the haemorrhage? Reading was no problem at all after the 2nd surgery.

Nicolaxkx 4 years ago


Thank you so much for the quick response. I will speak to them again Tuesday and hope for the best.

It's so good that there are people like you willing to give up their time helping others.

Best regards,

Nicola x

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Nicola,

All you can do is tell the anesthesiologist that this is a recurring issue for you. Ask if they have any ideas to help minimize the agitated wakeup. Sometimes, sedative medication can be given to smooth out the wakeup. Sometimes, however, this just isn't possible for a variety of reasons (vital signs, level of sedation, respiratory rate- aren't strong enough to give more meds). The emergence delirium/agitation is a very common and well-described event in anesthesia- especially with kids, I'm afraid.

I hope it all goes well. As an anesthesiologist, I don't like those kind of wake ups either. Try as we might, though, we can't always stop them.

Good luck to both of you!

Nicolaxkx 4 years ago


I have my ten year old daughter going in for general sedation again next week and am dreading it. She comes around so angry and aggressive. Screaming, fighting, punching, shouting and trying to move her unmovable body. As she gains her functions back she just struggles harder and it's an awful experience for us both. The hospital give her some pre-med to calm her for the needle prior to the op and this makes her quite frightened after a while as her senses seem to go.

Can you advise me on how I can make her coming round afterwards better???

Any advise will be appreciated.


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catmalone 4 years ago

Excellent hub and interesting!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Tbear! So glad you found my information helpful. That is a very bigh blood pressure. If you were already on medications, they may have given you a sedative or the first part of the anesthesia and checked the blood pressure again. If it drops significantly, they may think most of the elevation is from anxiety.

That bottom number is pretty high, though.

I'm really happy you got done and are doing well. You were worried about it and I"m sure it's such a relief to have it done.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Frenchkisses- No, anesthesia has not been linked to heavier periods in women. Hormone levels do fluctuate after surgery due to inflammation and so on, but I haven't seen any data that indicates it will cause heavier periods.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

That does sound quite unpleasant and unsettling, Magarietha. Usually, sedations are not associated with such bad memories/awakenings and most people don't remember much or have a quite pleasant recollection.

The key to understanding why this happened to you, is to know what medications you got. Ketamine may be used sometimes and can certainly lead to this type of awakening. Some people have unusual reactions to more routine medications.

If there is any way to get the records or a list of medicines that were used, that would help you figure it out. Then, you could at least ask for the most likely culprit to be avoided next time (if there is a next time).

Hope you feel better & sorry that was so awful for you.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Sometimes it could be from the spot where the tube rests in the mouth. It could also be from a bite block that is used to keep you from biting the tube or your tongue. If you had surgery near your head or neck, there could be nerve damage or numbness from local anesthetics or the procedure.

It took me a while to answer these questions, so I hope it has already started getting better. if not, you should definitely call the surgeon or the hospital recovery line if you haven't' already.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Yep, the operating room is cold, the cleansing soap is cold, the OR bed is cold, etc, etc… This leads to the whole body, and especially the extremities and finger and toes, being cold. Those with Raynauds may have painfully cold, blue fingers and toes.

Tbear1013 4 years ago

Hi tahoedoc this is tbear 1013 I am 1 week post op today from having those 18 teeth removed I just wanted to thank you for all your help before my surgery you was really a big help I was surprised they did my surgery because Bp shot up 187/147 than after I got home it went real low thanks again for all your help India

Magarietha 4 years ago

Hi, I've been crying all day. yesterday I had a gastroscopy with socalled twilight anesthesia. Everything went well, I wasn't even afraid. When the needle went in it was almost a pleasant feeling. Have had lots of proper anesthesia in my life, but this time on wakening, I felt like death itself. I had an extremely agitated feeling in the head, couldn't think straight, arms and legs were restless and yet I was sleepy but without being able to sleep at all. Never had such an entirely miserable experience. Only now this moment after 24 hours am I starting to feel a little better but I can't shake the tearfulness and my head still doesn't belong to me. Never ever ever again. I will pay out of pocket for proper anesthetic but THIS I shall never have again. I feel quite psychotic and I'm praying that this awful feeling will pass. Today I took half a bromazepam (which I happened to have) and it took of the edge of this zone I'm in. Horrible experience afterwards.

Sarah 4 years ago

Why is the underside of my tongue so sore after surgery with anesthesia, is it from the tube?

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nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Leipzig, Germany

TahoeDoc - I do always ask for warming blankets and tell the anesthetist about going cold. Mum was so worried after my first op as a teen, because I was really quite blue all over!

I do actually have secondary Raynaud's (due to fibromyalgia), but it didn't occur to me to link the post-op chill and Raynaud's together. Thank you!

french1kisses 4 years ago

hello i wanted to find out does anesthesia cause heavy periods in women

Rachel Again 4 years ago

Hi again, and thank you again and again, and again. It's nice to be "outed" as a writer (you know all writers are notoriously insecure). One of the thanks again is for the suggestion of writing a hub page. I got an account… we'll see what I can start here.

I am happy (really actually ecstatic) that I have been too busy with life to get back and reply. That's the whole point, getting back to life and away from doctors and hospitals :)

I have another question or two (can't get rid of me that easily).

Next step for me managing these pesky fibroids is MRgFUS/HIFU. My Interventional Radiologist has been wonderful. I wish I could be asleep for the 3-4 hours I will have to be in the MRI, and especially for the bladder catheter, and most most especially I think for the insertion of the catheter (Oy oy oy, how humiliating!).

I have been pestering my IR about exactly how things happen. He's written "the nurse places all the catheters, we don't even have an anesthesiologist present, we give you anxiety meds prior to the procedure and foley, it is all done by the nurses in the preparation room, with you lying on the bed, then I come speak with you, we sign the consent, ask any last min questions, then you either walk or roll across right across the hall to the mri suite, where the nurses and techs will help you onto the mri table." I missed that email and he wrote again "We don't have an anesthesiologist, we have very caring nurses who do the IV and catheterization, and we have given the anxiolytic first to make it more comfortable. "

Just to make things more challenging, he lost his nurse and is interviewing for another experienced nurse.

I have looked for other HIFU patients or a forum but can't find one yet. Everyone says its a breeze overall. I need specifics. It's so annoying not to have the simple details up front. Example: I had BPPV for 20 years and recently found out about therapy. Therapy was so easy, it was just putting me in a couple positions (fully clothed) and it cured a debilitating condition. But as I left they handed me instructions which included not bending over for 24 hours. Well gee, if I knew that I would have emptied the dishwasher before I left the house!

I had a follow up MRI after each hysteroscopic surgery, the second one at the IR facility, but not the actual machine. I had trouble holding my breath. The intern had me hold my breath on exhale, which I barely managed for 13 seconds. I asked if I could hold on inhale for and that worked a WHOLE LOT BETTER, up to 27 seconds and far easier. After 30 minutes of this, holding my breath was getting old. And although my body was OK in the same position, my head turned to the side was beginning really hurt my neck. The crease in the fabric under my face was starting to bug me. I kept thinking I needed to get used to this for the procedures (there will be two tx's) I really want it and want it to work well and be easy for everyone, not least of which, ME.

OK so I know its some sort of light sedation, I can't be asleep because I have to be able to "follow instructions". I wish they'd specify (and I asked, and he's nice but he doesn't answer every question and I am trying not to be too much of a pita) what those instructions are. I know I am not doing the cha cha in the MRI, and I expect its about staying still and holding my breath. I asked if I have to keep holding my breath on and off over 3-4 hours. That aint going to be easy if its so.

I'm surprised I sign consents after taking anxiety meds. Not a biggie, but still...

I will be awake enough to reliably sign consents and be relied upon to hold my breath repeatedly (maybe? what else could "instructions" mean?) but somehow this sedation is going to help make me comfortable being still for 3-4 hours, over the kind of trouble I had in my neck after 30-40 minutes- and this time with a catheter and of course leg bag strapped on inside an MRI machine? And perhaps the worst part is being catheterized while being conscious… but sedated?

There's a moment sometimes before I lose consciousness for a procedure where I am "high" and I suppose wouldn't care what was happening to my body, especially since I signed up for this. I was once drunk enough I couldn't feel myself falling down (several times, I was trying to play tennis, after a teenage drinking game. I woke the next morning black and blue down my outer arms. Finally figured out I had been falling on the tennis court without trying to break my fall, kinda like a bowling pin). I was still competent enough to take phone messages and leave them for my father. I even recorded myself speaking to see how I sounded that drunk. OK, it's 35 years later, but I can still manage quite well on the rare occasion that I tie one on. True enough, I haven't been drunk since 2005, but I still was "together".

I watched a good youtube video on how to install a catheter, and it looked pretty inocuous, but she was demonstrating on a dummy. The only time I have been catheterized was that mess in February under GA, and there were two catheters, and they were both a surprise, and I had just had surgery and they hadn't left ANY slack on the drain to my leg bag or taught me anything about how to adjust or maintain it, so I didn't know why I couldn't stand, sit, walk, or even lie down without very strange pain plus all that other confusing stuff and side effects… It's kind of my understanding and hope that when a catheter is done properly, its no a big deal. Maybe I would have the feeling like I had to pee (like a UTI) but that would pass.

All of this blather is by way of asking… do you think this sort of anesthesia will

a) allow me to not mind the business of inserting the catheter?

b) allow me to not notice the catheter in place?

c) allow me to stay motionless in the MRI thinking I am comfortable?

d) allow me to hold my breath repeatedly over 4 hours? easier or harder?

Any idea what other instructions might be? I know I will have a button in my hand to press if there is pain (burning).

I wish they could just knock me out.

I take .5 mg of Xanax sometimes for sleep or anxiety, it no longer makes me high at all. If I had that "high" feeling I recall from beginning anesthesia for procedures for this, maybe I would be nicely oblivious but aware enough to not screw things up, but how can they get me that high safely without an anesthesiologist?

Sorry this is so long and thank you again for all your great help!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Nif- thanks for reading! Low body temperature is common after anesthesia. If your hands/toes/lips actually turn blue, either you are too cold or you have Raynaud's phenomenon?

This would be a good thing to tell the anesthesia doc before surgery. We have special warming blankets that we can put on you while you sleep to minimize this problem. I use them on every, single patient, but some anesthesia docs don't and some hospitals discourage their use because of money (although that's changing as we find out more about the issues that hypothermia after surgery can cause).

And, thank you for the hub idea- I will try to work that one in- good idea :)

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nifwlseirff 4 years ago from Leipzig, Germany

A wealth of information, both in the hub, and in the comments and your fantastic replies - thank you Tahoedoc!

Pixiedoll - adenomyosis may not show on camera (is typically diagnosed only be testing the tissue), and causes severe abdominal pain and extremely heavy/long periods. Surgeons found my severe case after 4 operations for endometriosis.

Tahoedoc - how common is it for patients to turn blue from cold after anesthesia? I usually do, and get the shakes. And have had some wonderfully crazy incoherent conversations in the recovery room with other patients and the nurses - which I can still laugh about now! I'd love to read a hub about what patients should tell anesthetists *before* surgery.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi JF. You need to call the on-call doc to see if she should attempt to take the pills again (IF you are sure they came back up). This happens quite a bit as vomiting is common after surgery and they probably have an answer ready for you. You can also ask them to prescribe something for the nausea. If pain meds are causing nausea and vomiting, there are meds you can take to prevent this. If it is a leftover anesthesia side-effect, then it should be better by the morning.

For the sleepiness... does she awaken easily when you do wake her? If she seems too lethargic, you need to make sure nothing else is wrong. Can she talk to you and answer questions when awake? Does she slur her words or seem weak? If these things aren't ok, then this is not normal.

If she awakens easily, is able to interact normally and falls back asleep, then this is PROBABLY normal. BUT, I am not there and cannot make this determination. Go with your gut instinct on this. If you think something is wrong, call the doc or the ER. If she has sleep apnea or other sleep or lung issues, then she is at risk of more apnea or oxygen problems after anesthesia. Make sure she is sleeping on an incline if she has these problems. If she uses CPAP for sleep apnea, it's important to use this any time she could fall asleep for the first night or two after surgery.

There are, unfortunately, too many things I don't or can't know or see to really give you a good answer. But, I hope this helped in some way. Remember, when in doubt, call the doc. Go to the ER if you suspect a real problem.

Remember, never rely on the internet as your only source of advice or help. Use the numbers you got from the surgery center to call. As much as we docs online want to help, there is no guarantee that we will be able to respond quickly enough to matter. And, quite honestly, it's hard to know who to trust online anyway.

Hope you are both feeling better by now!

JF 4 years ago

My wife just underwent her first ever surgery, and she received general anesthesia which I know included propophyl among others. She emerged from surgery and was discharged about 6 hours ago. It was an ambulatory procedure. The dr prescibed important meds to prevent infection and also one drug specific to her procedure. Problem is, she threw them up. What do we do? I'm afraid she will continue to vomit up the meds but it is important that she keep them down. Also, she cannot stay awake. I know this is common, but should I be waking her up, or allow her to sleep it off? I know these are probably amateur questions, but I'm just really scared for her and never been thru this, and have nobody else I can discuss this with.

darlene 4 years ago

after anestesia iwill talking on phone hurt you as for as letting air in some people say and straws?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Ruth- Shaking after anesthesia is pretty common but usually wears off before you leave the hospital. The twitchiness or restlessness could be related to certain anesthesia meds or to being immobile for a period of time, but should probably be gone soon. Call the hospital or surgery center if you have any fevers, nausea, or other concerning symptoms. Otherwise, I hope you get better fast!

Ruth 4 years ago

Hi - thanks for your site. A quick question - I had a general yesterday for what turned out to be a very simple wisdom tooth removal. On waking, I had the uncontrollable shakes (which I have had before with generals and it is not because I am cold, feels more like anxiety). However, this time I have also had twitchy legs (feels like restless legs - I get sometimes when I am tired). I am not on any pain meds (just had paracetamol a couple of times in first 12 hrs), and otherwise am feeling fine. Spent the morning in bed, which sort of helped, but I just can't seem to find a position which alleviates it. I am hoping it is just the anaesthetic wearing off?

Thanks :)

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Rachel- I am SO sorry that you had the bad experience. I am just as glad that you found someone (the whole team) after that who treated you the way you should be treated.

I get a lot of comments on here, but I have to say that yours made me tear up a little. I never thought anyone would ever read my 'hubs'. To hear that they actually do help, well that is just so incredibly rewarding!

So, thank YOU for reading and being thoughtful enough to come back and comment and let me know how this helped you. You made my week, you made my week by doing so. I can say with some certainty that your anesthesiologist feels the same way- people don't usually remember us at all, let alone in such a kind way.

Oh, and you write very well- have you considered starting your own hub pages account to tell of your experiences?

Rachel 4 years ago

I just have to thank you a bazillion times. I never had a problem with anesthesia, it was always "heavy MAC" for outpatient procedures (bartholin's marsupilaization, colonoscopies, excisional biopsy, lumpectomy...). I had a horrific experience in February (hysteroscopic resection), the anesthesiologist began by berating me for my lack of easy veins, she insisted on "at least seeing" my lymphedema-risk arm... but my whole body was dehydrated from not drinking for 17 hours so I let her see it, and it was safe. She stuck the back of my hand and missed, ok fine, then she stuck it again and this time caused agony. I told her to stop, that she was hurting me, but she held me down saying "it only hurts for a moment". I tried to protest but another on her team covered my face with a mask, little air, I tried to protest again and this masked team member repeated the mantra: It only hurts for a moment. It was terrifying. When I awoke I was in more kinds of pain than I understood, and as you explained, I woke up as terrified as I went down. My throat and mouth and tongue were dessicated, I had two catheters (one for uterus) I was given a variety of excuses as to why I was switched to GA, nothing made any sense.

Then I needed surgery again, there was more fibroid left to resect. I found another surgeon and she told me right off the bat that I would probably have GA with LMA. I appreciated her giving me the correct information, and in researching the night before the surgery, I found your hub page.

This time, I got to meet the anesthesiologist before surgery and discuss the anesthesia. Thanks to this page, I understood that I really did need an endo trach tube and GA. As I discussed my concerns with this great anesthesiologist, she asked about the side effects and had great understanding. She said something like perhaps she'd use the drugs that were used for heavy MAC, but as GA. I told her about the dessication and what I read here about moisturizers, she had that covered. She also mentioned Tiva and not needing a catheter. (yay!)

This surgery admittedly was a much smaller job (just cleaning up what was left, as opposed to the big job of removing an enormous fibroid) but at a different (and oh my stars so much better) hospital, with a caring talented surgeon and what I consider this brilliant angel of an anesthesiologist. Plus, armed with what I learned here, I was prepared.

The nurse set my IV, and having trouble finding a vein again (sigh, what can I say, my veins pack a suitcase for parts unknown before surgery) she got on her knees which let my hand drop down and I guess fill with blood, so she got a vein, no pain no problem. In the OR I went down in a good mood and confident. I woke up feeling GREAT, and comfortable. I read (I think here) that I should not bother hurrying to wake up, so I enjoyed the soft sleepy feeling as the nurses came by, and asked if I was OK. Yeah, I am great! And my mouth and throat were perfect- better than when I woke up that morning!

My friends and family were stunned after seeing me this time, practically dancing out of the recovery room.

I just can't thank you enough, and I think I will build a small shrine for the anesthesiologist... no seriously, I did send her a card and a small gift to thank her.

Thanks to both of you, I am no longer afraid of anesthesia, GA etc. And I will make sure to have this sort of conversation with any anesthesiologist in the future. If they wont talk to me, I will reschedule the surgery.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Maureen - Likely, the trauma of the whole thing affected your body. A sigmoid colectomy is unlikely to cause significant nutrient loss, although some dehydration is possible, so it's probably not from the missing piece of colon.

Most of the time, people report the hair does start growing back. If you haven't had your thyroid checked, it is a good time to do that. Sometimes the stress of the procedure can bring out a deficiency that hadn't been detected. See your doc and mention the thinning hair. Let him/her know if you have other low thyroid symptoms (fatigue, dry skin, constipation, etc) to see if you could benefit from a test. Otherwise, there isn't much you can do besides ensure you get a balanced diet and generally take good care of yourself. It's annoying and frustrating, isn't it? I had the same thing happen to me after a significant illness.

Good luck & hope the problem gets better!

Maureen 4 years ago

I had a sigmoid colectomy last November and my hair is thinning out terribly. I heard it could be due to the anesthesia or trauma. Will it grow back??

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Mark- Thanks for your comments and for your excellent question. I'm sorry your daughter had such pain and hope she is better. If the docs found nothing else wrong and diagnosed pancreatitis, they are probably right.

There are case reports (meaning they are rare enough to get their own article in medical journals) of people developing pancreatitis after receiving propofol anesthesia. Propofol is a drug often used for both induction (going to sleep) and maintenance (staying asleep) of anesthesia. But, most of the people who had pancreatitis were sick, older people in the ICU who had been on propofol for days or longer.

It seems to be reported, but very, very rare in otherwise healthy young people. You should contact the anesthesiologist (through the surgeon) and let them know that this occurred. They may want to report it to the FDA or the manufacturer or another database that may be tracking the info.

I hope she's better. Make sure you tell future providers. There is no info on whether this can recur or not, so they may not avoid propofol (there aren't great substitutes now), but it will be important to know about.

Thanks again for reading and commenting.

Mark King 4 years ago

Hello TahoeDoc and what a great forum.

Im in Brisbane Australia and two days ago my 22 year old daughter had a procedure in hospital under general anaesthetic to remove a dorsal ganglion cyst from the back of her hand.

She was discharged one hour after surgery and we took her home. Later that night the onset od intense pain from her mid section through to her back. So intense she required an ambulance.

We thought given her general good health and uneventfull history that it may be related to the anaesthetic she had only hours earlier.

After two days in hospital it was suggested that the only explaination was that it was a mild pancreatic attack due to the Anaestetic. Does that make sense? Thanks Mark

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi James. A breathing tube is a hollow tube that goes between the vocal cords into the windpipe. It has a small balloon encircling the end to help keep it in place and protect anything (like saliva or acid) from entering the windpipe.

An LMA is a small, soft rubber device that inflates in the back of the throat. It sits over the opening to the windpipe but does not enter it. The oxygen and gas anesthesia enter the lungs through a hole in the mask that is connected to the gas supply.

With both, you are either able to breathe on your own or be assisted by a ventilator.

There are various reasons why one or another would be chosen and you would need to discuss those with the anesthesia provider. Usually, the LMA is less bothersome to the patient at the end of the surgery.

I will write a hub soon on the differences. Thanks for the inspiration!

I always talk to my patients and remind them that they are going to do great and feel good when they wake up, as they are going to sleep. When people are calm going to sleep, they tend to wake up feeling better. Some anesthesiologists don't have great bedside manner (thus they chose a profession where their patients are asleep most of the time.)

Hope that helps.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi alaa - He should not have pigment in his eyes after that procedure. But, I'm not sure what you mean by pigment. If you mean that the eyes are red, then that's probably normal. If something else is going on, you need to take him back to the doctor. Hope he gets better soon.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Wow! Missing gum? Rather than the size of the tube, it might have been that the tube rubbed on that spot while it was in place or scraped it on the way in or out.

Be sure to tell the anesthesiologist about it next time. Take a picture if you can now to help explain what happened.

As always, if it isn't getting better or if you have signs of infection, let the doctor know right away.

Hope you get better fast.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Sarah. All of the things you have been dealing with can disrupt normal sleep. Anesthesia (usually only for a few days) will definitely mess it up. The pain medicines and then removal of the pain meds, the stress and inflammation of surgery -- all of these things change the body's chemistry and balance for a while and can change sleep patterns.

The good news is that you should return to normal soon!

Sweet dreams (I hope)

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

This is strange- sorry everyone- it seems some questions I thought I answered never posted, so I will go back and cover them.

Pixie- The crying is a very common side effect of the anesthesia gases. I had a patient just yesterday who woke up crying and couldn't stop. She was also embarrassed and ended up laughing because she had no control over it. It's really just the anesthesia.

It is possible that if the throat is still sore that there is an actual abrasion or cut in the back of the throat. Losenges, cool liquids and time will usually heal it. If you have any signs of infection (fever, pus, etc) see your doc immediately.

Pelvic pain- I'm so sorry that this was not resolved with the laparoscopy. Sometimes, the only thing they find is some adhesions where strands of connective tissue abnormally stick to organs or their lining. This can cause pain. If they find these, they cut the abnormal connection and the pain sometimes will get better over the next couple weeks.

Unfortunately, very commonly, they also find nothing. I wish I had more info or ideas for you because chronic pain is definitely hard to live with :(

Good luck and I hope you get some relief.

Pixiedoll profile image

Pixiedoll 4 years ago from Florida

Hello, I read the information and still trying get use to this first time i ever had laprscopy surgery done recently may 11th and the anesthesia that i had was totally different from my past previous surgeries i had. Since i had Breathing Tube during the surgery as sleeping in dreamland and dont remember that it was there , i woke up crying for my mom which is embrassing, after recovery and send home same day it been nearly almost a week hasnt healed my throat from breathing tube what does work for this throat to get better than thinking it might been torn inside from breathing tube? I had Laprscopy Surgery for to find out what causing my chronic pain i had for 6 years in the lower pelvis/adnormal area. ( sadly the doctor found nothing from the surgery view the cam inside me) i am still struggling frustration with this chronic pain on top of my surgery now... any suggestion what could really be wrong with me with this serious chronic pain? please help me ~ i dont want to suffer this chronic pain for life ~ thanks

Sarah 4 years ago

I had surgery a week ago and took myself of the painkillers two days ago due to them making me feel sick and drowsy all the time, now I can't sleep at all and although am going to bed exhausted have spent the last two nights staring at the ceiling for two hours, could this be related to the g.a at all or mess? It's driving me crazy!

rara04 4 years ago

I had surgery recently, and I was sick to my stomach for a few days. I also was left with missing gum on my lower right side, you can see the bone! :( Now eleven days later I'm in agony! Is there a chance the next time I have surgery with a tube that the Anesthesiologist can use a smaller tube?

alaa 4 years ago

my sister's son had endoscopy operation in trachea

to remove crumblings of peanut

Now he have pigment in his eyes

Is it a normal thing or not ?

TahoeDoc profile image

TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Cyn- if this is just the usual sleepiness/dizziness, then all you can do is get A LOT of rest and fluids as much as is tolerated and allowed. I'm sorry it's taking so long and hope you feel better really soon!

Cyn 4 years ago

I had an outpatient procedure 3 days ago (GA). I'm still feeling a little dizzy and sleepy... Dr doesn't seem concerned at this point. Anything I can do to speed up this stage and feel "balanced" again. I don't feel safe enough to drive.

Connie 4 years ago

Yes you explained perfectly the distinction betweem "tube down your throat" as the surgeon's intern stated (meaning the scope) and general anesthesia which would go into the windpipe. Twilight sedation is planned so hopefully this will aleviate his concerns. Thank you for your time.

goingunder 4 years ago

TahoeDoc! Good Morning. Thanks for the feedback. I'm due for surgery in a week so I will let you know how this one goes (fingers crossed)

I do what to let you know that I am very impressed with your responses. To be honest I was guessing it would be a week or so before I saw a response if any at all. We need more docs like you that are willing to take the time to educate us! You are doing a fantastic job and thank you!!!!!

James 4 years ago

What is the difference between these two? Breathing Tube and laryngeal mask airway? I notice it depends on what type of surgery you are having to able to choose one these two during the general Anesthesia ? or is it depends on patient to make right decision to use one these equiment during the process of surgery? My wife is always scared of Laryngeal Mask Airway. is it common for some people to be fear of Laryngeal Mask? is it part of their panic or Axeity attack? do Anesthesia try their best to comfort the patient during undergoing Medication that puts them to sleep with other medication to stay away from getting nausea or vomiting after wake up from any performance of surgery? or it indivual on certain patients? just wanted know more about Anethesia and the difference between the two different breathing that supports patients during the surgery.


Courtney Baumer 4 years ago

Hello, I read the information and still trying get use to this first time i ever had laprscopy surgery done recently may 11th and the anesthesia that i had was totally different from my past previous surgeries i had. Since i had Breathing Tube during the surgery as sleeping in dreamland and dont remember that it was there , i woke up crying for my mom which is embrassing, after recovery and send home same day it been nearly almost a week hasn't healed my throat from breathing tube what does work for this throat to get better than thinking it might been torn inside from breathing tube? I had Laprscopy Surgery for to find out what causing my chronic pain i had for 6 years in the lower pelvis/adnormal area. ( sadly the doctor found nothing from the surgery view the cam inside me) i am still struggling frustration with this chronic pain on top of my surgery now... any suggestion what could really be wrong with me with this serious chronic pain? please help me ~ i dont want to suffer this chronic pain for life ~ thanks Courtney

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

@Connie- Hi there! If your husband is just having an EGD with sedation, then nothing will be put between his vocal cords. If he is going to have general anesthesia with a breathing tube, then the breathing tube goes into the windpipe between the vocal cords.

In either case, the throat will be numbed with numbing medicine (usually spray). I don't know any evidence of the spray causing permanent damage to vocal cords. There is probably someone out there who believes it has happened.

For the EGD, the scope goes only into the esophagus, which is in front of the opening to the windpipe (where the vocal cords are located), so the vocal cords should not be damaged during EGD. The scope IS in the vicinity though, so the actual risk can be discussed with the GI doc if this is an EGD with sedation, usually an anesthesiologist isn't used (nor is a breathing tube) unless there is some reason the GI doc requests it.

Does that answer your question? I'm not sure I explained that well.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Kala- Hi there. All of the things you describe sound normal or variants of normal. For the nausea that is worse when you stand- make sure you are well-hydrated (as well as you can given the nausea). Some nausea is normal or very, very common.

The stinging is likely incisional pain. One of the ports for laparoscopic surgery usually goes through the navel. Do you have a bandage there?

For the gas buildup- there are 2 kinds of gas after laparoscopy. There is intestinal gas that builds up because your GI system slows down. Walking and taking warm beverages might be the best therapy for that.

The other kind of gas is outside the GI system in the abdominal cavity. This is carbon dioxide which is used to inflate the abdomen for surgery. There isn't a lot to do about this. Walking, heating pad and time with position changes help. It can be uncomfortable, but it will resolve. If you also have aching in your shoulder area, it is more likely this second kind of gas.

It just so happens that I wrote about this not long ago...

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

@Goingunder- I am the same way with the nausea and dizziness, so I understand! Ask if they are using a scopolamine (motion sickness) patch with the other nausea meds- sometimes it helps.

I have never heard a description like that about the vision loss. I wonder if it's just the way, the order in which the brain goes to sleep and you remember it and most people don't (or others have different experiences.). If you have any risk for cardiovascular disease, be sure to get checked out since a difference in blood flow to different parts of the brain could cause temporary visual loss (although the meds are probably a better explanation given the fact that it was fine when you woke up).

Mention it to the anesthesiologist. If nothing else, they may find it interesting (but probably not too concerning if you are otherwise healthy).

Thanks for sharing that. I LOVE to get feedback from people about their actual experiences with anesthesia!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

@Connie- Hi there! If your husband is just having an EGD with sedation, then nothing will be put between his vocal cords. If he is going to have general anesthesia with a breathing tube, then the breathing tube goes into the windpipe between the vocal cords.

In either case, the throat will be numbed with numbing medicine (usually spray). I don't know any evidence of the spray causing permanent damage to vocal cords. There is probably someone out there who believes it has happened.

For the EGD, the scope goes only into the esophagus, which is in front of the opening to the windpipe (where the vocal cords are located), so the vocal cords should not be damaged during EGD. The scope IS in the vicinity though, so the actual risk can be discussed with the GI doc if this is an EGD with sedation, usually an anesthesiologist isn't used (nor is a breathing tube) unless there is some reason the GI doc requests it.

Does that answer your question? I'm not sure I explained that well.

Kala 4 years ago

I just had laproscopic surgery and removal of endometriosis about 11 hours ago. I am very nauseas when I stand up? Is that normal? Also I have a stinging feeling at my navel every once in a while that's a quick sharp pain. Also is there a way to get rid of the gas that builds up in my abdomen as its hard to pass it. Just found this hub and love it-very informative. I'm 26 never had kids, non smoker, overall good health

Goingunder 4 years ago

I have a couple of issues. First, I am one to get sick from anthesia and I mean really sick. I get the feeling of spinning and then I'm sick for hours. It seems to occur as soon asI sit up. I've been given nausea meds before surgey and after and I still get sick .. Anyway my real question is I was put under last August and as I was going under a lost my vision temporarily in my left eye. When I woke up it was fine.. Any idea to why that happened?


connie 4 years ago

This is a wonderful site. Your expertise has helped many. My husband is (finally) scheduled for his screening colonoscopy. During the pre-op evaluation an EGD was also recommended due to his abdominal pain, frequent belching and bloating after eating. He is not sure this test is necessary since this has been his lifelong pattern. Moot point,I don't expect your opinion on this, however he has a concern about the scope passing his vocal chords. He is a singer and is naturally concerned about his voice. My question for you is: can the anesthesia or the passing of the scope damage the vocal chords? If so how big a risk is there?

Thank You!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Sherri- Was she having problems walking in the hospital too? (ie: do the docs already know about this?) Did they recommend anything before they discharged her? I would certainly call the surgeon's office or the hospital where she was and report that she is having this issue.

If she is deconditioned and weak, she may improve. I wonder if you could request physical or occupational therapy to help, or home nursing. Report this issue to the surgeon and perhaps ask if that's possible.

If this is NEW difficulty walking, or she seems weaker on one side and that is causing the problem, she needs to be evaluated for stroke or other problems. Take her to the ER immediately.

It's very hard for anyone, especially the elderly, to recover from surgery. Longer surgeries that are more involved are even worse. But, even minor ones can take all the reserve that older people have. I hope this is just a "time" thing and she gets better day to day. Call the doc in the meantime (or take her in if this is new).

And give her a nice Mother's Day hug. 4 years ago

My 91 year old mother had surgery for an oral cancer. Mental functions are fine but seems to have lost her ability to walk after only one full day in the hospital. Will this come back? It has only been two days since her release.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Kylie. That's so frustrating to have to delay something you really want!

If you have the flu, or have had it in the past 2-4 weeks (depending on other factors such as history of asthma, smoking, surgery setting, etc), you should usually wait to have elective surgery. The lungs are reactive for a period of time after having a significant respiratory illness- especially if you smoke or have asthma - so there is no justification for putting you at risk. Same goes with any respiratory illness accompanied by fever, wheezing, or a productive cough. Otherwise, it is up to the anesthesiologist and surgeon to determine whether your risk is minimized enough to proceed.

If you just have post-nasal drip (without having been sick in the past month), then talk to the surgeon and anesthesiologist. This, by itself, is usually not a problem. BUT, they may have other reasons that they want to wait under those circumstances.

I hope you get to and through your surgery quickly and safely. Remember, like I tell my patients, it is the responsibility of the anesthesiologist to protect you, whether or not they give you the anesthesia!

Kylie 4 years ago

Hi there! I am

Due to have breast augumentation

In a weeks time, but i seem to have mucus in my throat constantly, i have in the past and recently had problems

With my sinuses. During my pre-op consultation with the anesthatist i had the flu, and she told me i could not have the surgery of there was any mucus, so we had to postpone a week, i have since been to the doctor and they have given me sum meds to try and dry the mucus up but its not going at all, is it dangeous to go ahead with surgery if i have constant mucus present in my throat? Is it likely to block the airways? Im terrified of the thought of being put to sleep, and am pretty nervous anyway without anything possibly contributing to being a

Complication. This is an op i have wanted done

For sooooo long and now I have the chance there seems to be problem after problem.....we do think i may suffer from post nasal drip, any help or advice would be greatly appreciated, thankyou.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

@Kim- I cannot think of any reason your thyroid should be enlarged after anesthesia with a breathing tube for an appendectomy. Has a doctor taken a look at your thyroid?

@buttrfli- I'm glad you are getting better. Migraines are HORRIBLE and I hope the treatment helps. Whether your reaction is normal or not depends on whether they used numbing medicine or botox or something else and whether they were targeting muscle, blood vessels or nerves.

Probably (and I have no way of knowing for sure), they are going to tell you that it will improve with time, but definitely still call them!

Feel better!!

buttrfli424 4 years ago

Thanks Doc. I am feeling a bit better after sleeping almost all day. The block I had done was for severe migraines that I was getting on a daily basis. I will try to call my dr's office and see what to do about my tongue, it is still itching, but I haven't noticed any severe swelling. My face is still swollen and bruised even with ice.

Kim 4 years ago

I had an appendectomy a few weeks ago, and since the surgery my thyroid has become enlarged. Would this have anything to do with being intubated?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Buttrfli-

The sore throat is normal from the breathing tube.

It sounds like the block is wearing off and it is normal for different sensations and functions to come back at different times.

However, as always, I cannot say for sure since I cannot see and evaluate you and don't have your medical records with the type of nerve block done, the medications used or the procedure you had done. All of these things help determine whether this is normal or not.

If you are very concerned or if you are having other symptoms (like trouble breathing or tongue swelling rapidly or to the point that it is uncomfortable or interferes with breathing, call your doctor right away).

I wish I could help more, but I cannot give specific medical advice online; I can only provide general information.

Hope you are feeling better every minute and hour!

buttrfli424 4 years ago

I had a nerve block done today on my face. I was given anesthesia w/ a breathing tube. When I came too, my tongue was numb and I couldn't taste anything. My tongue is no longer numb, but my taste is still off and now my tongue is itching. Is this a common thing or should I be more concerned? I also have a sore throat.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Scaredstr8- You sound like me with the intolerance to pain meds. I puke, no matter what. Usually, if the anesthesiologist gives you ant-nausea meds, you can have minimal nausea in the recovery room. The problem might be later, at home, when you take pain pills.

Unfortunately, given the type of surgery, they aren't going to want you to have NSAID-type drugs (toradol can be very helpful), most likely.

My experience as a doctor AND patient let me experiment with lots of combos for pain meds and anti-nausea meds.

After trying EVERYTHING, I finally found that if they (surgeon) prescribed me phenergan to take about 20-30 minutes BEFORE the pain pill (percoset worked, vicodin made me nauseous without relieving pain), I could tolerate it if I laid still. Some people do well with Zofran taken pre-pain pill. I would just fall asleep with the combination and the nausea was minimized. Ask if they have motion sickness patches (scopolamine) and if so, put it on before surgery. This helps me a lot, and can be left on for up to 3 days. You might have a little rebound nausea when you take it off, so be warned.

Good luck! I really do sympathize as a doctor and a narcotic-intolerant patient!!

See also...

Scaredstr8 4 years ago

Hello Tahoedoc,

I will be having ankle instability surgery Friday. I have a history of nausea and low tolerance to pain meds. They make me pretty sick and I never take anything stronger than Tylenol because of my SLE. I exlained to my surgeon and he said he will speak with the anesthelogist. I wanted to know if you could offer me advice about any pain meds that do not have any nacrotics in them so I can questions him about them on Friday.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi concernedpatient- I can certainly understand why you are concerned and I'm sorry you don't feel better than you do. Unfortunately, it's hard to say how long it will take you to recover. Part of what you describe sounds like you could still be dehydrated. If you had a kidney infection or any change in your kidney 'labs' with the stone or other kidney or heart disease, consult your doctor first, but you may need to up your fluid intake for a while (unless, again, you have a contraidication to it).

Otherwise, rest when you can and keep exercising your body and brain as tolerated. The taste should get better soon- Most people recover that inside of a few weeks, at most.

Actually, I would expect most of these things to clear up soon. Your body and mind have been through a stressful time. If you haven't read it yet, maybe my hub on POCD-postoperative cognitive dysfunction would provide some insight.

Hope you get back to feeling like yourself soon!

concernedpatient 4 years ago

I had surgery a little over a week ago and am still having issues. I had the general anethesia with tube down throat, I believe, since I could barely speak afterwards. Now I am still trying to shake it to get back to normal. I am lightheaded when I stand up right away and feel tired and sleepy most of the time. Sometimes I almost lose my equilibrium when walking. I feel like my brain is in a fog. Also my sense of taste is off but I think that it is slowly coming back. How long is it going to take to get back to normal? I know by the way that I am feeling that this not normal for me. BTW, I had a procedure to remove a large kidney stone that would not budge.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Mike- Interestingly enough, patients who have had open heart surgery, especially with a perfusion pump (heart-lung machine, bypass machine) report loss of taste, bad taste in the mouth or other alterations in taste a/o smell.

I don't know about the recovery rule, but I will say that more physiologically disturbing surgeries (those on heart/lung/brain, etc) definitely take longer to recover from.

Other people do report changes in taste after general anesthesia for other types of surgeries, so it may be a combined effect. It is not as commonly reported for other types of surgeries as it is with open heart surgery. Some surgeries, like nasal or mouth surgery would be expected to produce more of this effect.

I don't know of anything that can be done to speed recovery, although most people do get their taste back in a few weeks to a few months.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

mike 4 years ago

I had triple by-pass surgery at x-mas . Since then my

sense of taste seems compromised . Even water tastes

"off" . my surgery took 9 hours . Some associates advise

that it takes 1 mo. for each hour of surgery to fully

recover . Any thoughts ?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Aww, I'm sorry for you and your mom. Unfortunately, it is pretty well-known that hip fractures in older people are often very difficult to recover from.

It seems that the stress of the fracture and the surgery are quite difficult on the body and mind of the older person. We don't know why hip fractures are so difficult to recover from (physically and mentally), but it likely has something to do with all of the stress hormones, inflammatory mediators and other chemical changes that occur in the body.

I did write a little about post-operative cognitive dysfunction. Don't know if it will help, but check it out.

With the hip fractures, the only thing worse than having surgery to fix them is NOT fixing them. The prognosis for untreated hip fractures is pretty bad. :(

Stop back in a day or two. I will try to find you a good,reliable resourse to get some more info.

confuseddaughter 4 years ago

I stumbled on this by mistake ~ thank goodness. I have been wondering and trying to make sense out of why my Mom is so different after her surgery. She fell and broke her right hip. It's been nearly a month since the surgery. They gave her an epidural instead of putting her under. She is 84 years old. Lately I have been noticing how weak she appears to be. She has not had pain meds for several weeks. I started her on Vit B12, D3, coenzyme Q10 and D Ribose but her energy level is so low. Today during her Physical Therapy they had her standing (with a walker) for nearly 2 minutes. She was exhausted and had to sit down before resuming the next set of exercises. She weighs 120 pounds so she is not overweight by any means. And for the past few weeks she has lost interest in things that generally give her pleasure ~ her little dog, her Dr. Oz show, even her visitors. Do you have any suggestions? Many thanks.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi KM- Emergence agitation is not that uncommon, although it is seen more in children as a common occurrence. In adults, I usually see it in people who have one or more of the following

1. Career in law enforcement

2). Military history

3). Some other traumatic event (history as a victim of violence, assault, rape, etc)

4). Fearful or other personality that makes trust difficult for whatever reason.

The best thing to do is to talk to the nurses and anesthesiologist BEFORE you go to sleep. Tell them that this has happened to you repeatedly, not just once. Some people (me included, most of the time) think that using a little propofol (diprivan) near the end of the anesthetic helps smooth the transition from anesthetized to awake. Not sure if your anesthesiologists have tried that.

Usually, family members are not allowed in the recovery area as you are awakening (only allowed for children) due to privacy issues, hospital policy, space concerns, etc. Some facilities are able to make exceptions, but that is really an issue for the individual institution. They usually are not trying to be 'mean' if this is not possible, but it can't hurt to ask if your husband could be there earlier than usual in recovery if needed.

Good luck! We don't really understand why this happens to some people. We do know that it is NOT your fault as you are not really able to process your environment accurately and have rational thoughts while waking up from anesthesia.

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KMHaus 4 years ago from Boulder, Colorado

Hi, I'm looking for help/info/advice for my particular problem and this looks like the best place to ask so far.

I panic when coming out of anesthesia. Badly, completely terrified, the recovery nurses don't know what to do with me. They give me drugs, brush my hair, talk to me and every time (4 procedures to date) they've given up, gone and gotten my husband and everything calms down as soon as I hear his voice. Blood pressure drops to normal, same with heart rate and respiration. Is there anything I can try or do to avoid this? I have another surgery coming up and want to not have this happen again.

Thank you!

itsnotme 4 years ago

had surgery on the 1st may general ana 1hr (knee) feeling really low, shortness of breath, and lots of crying could these be side effects?

stephanie 4 years ago

Hello Tahoedoc,

I am having ankle ligament and joint repair surgery. Am very narcotic sensitive. Are there any pain meds without narcotics that assist me with post-op pain?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Casey- Aspiration of stomach contents is a risk of anesthesia. HOWEVER, those at significant risk are those with a full stomach, a history of severe acid reflux, people with history of stroke or other dysfunctions of airway.

So, nothing to eat or drink after midnight or whatever your instructions were. Tell your anesthesiologist if you have acid reflux or a hiatal hernia. Otherwise, this complication is very rare.

casey j 4 years ago

hi, i go in for surgery in the morning and my friends are scarying me with stories about people who vomit while they are under and they inhaled it and died. is this a possibility? can it be prevented?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hello Yazan Ahmad. It's difficult to know what is causing your issues. Anesthesia alone would not cause that result. The combination of surgery and anesthesia can cause problems with memory and concentration. This is called postoperative cognitive dysfunction and I have written about it here.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Luke. Usually ACL surgery takes anywhere from 1.5 to several hours depending on the technique used for repair and how much other work is done. Cleaning up a meniscus is pretty quick but REPAIRING the meniscus takes quite a bit longer.

Your orthopedic surgeon would be the best person to answer your questions. I want to help you, but this is outside the scope of my practice.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Lani,

It's normal to be scared and reaction to anesthesia can be similar among family members. Discuss your concerns with your surgeon and if possible, the anesthesiologist.

There is a really wide range of 'normal' responses to anesthesia. How long it takes to wake up and/or feel awake is dependent on so many factors and is very unpredictable. I think if your family members just took a long time to wake up and weren't having a 'bad' or dangerous reaction to anesthesia, then this is a normal variant of reaction to anesthesia. If there is a history of dangerous reactions to anesthesia, then this needs to be investigated further before you undergo the procedure. They should have been informed or been admitted to the hospital or referred for testing if they were in danger.

Lani 4 years ago

I'm nineteen years old and about to have surgery on my nose. I'm scared because my sister and my aunt had hard times returning to consciousness after receiving anesthesia. I'm worried that the same thing will happen to me. =[

yazan ahmad 4 years ago

befroe 5 years and after that period i had an acceptable headache. then i made a surgery in my nose before a year and it lasted two hours under complete anesthesia and then my heaache got so bad that i can't do my jobs well.

when i read i forget what i read, i sleep 15-16 hours a day and other bad effects, then i read and can't understand what iread. does the anesthetization do this?

Luke 4 years ago

Hi doc I have got to have surgery on my knee as I have torn my acl and the ligament that holds your knee in place as well as tearing the knee cartridge is this serious

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

See what the surgeon says and what the blood test shows, but it might be his body saying "I need time to heal from all of this", even though he feels like he should be past this already. If he isn't staying well-hydrated, that can lead to fatigue and nausea, as well. And his fluid needs might be increased after surgeries while healing.

Good luck- I'm sure he's ready to 'get on with it', but might need more time.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Nausea and vomiting after surgery are not uncommon. However, that it is associated with lying down makes me wonder if you have some reflux (especially with the feeling of something in your throat).

Are you taking anything for the nausea? Is it helping?

You should call your doctors (I have to advise that because I can't possibly get the whole picture without seeing you). In the meantime, take something for acid reflux (Tums, zantac, etc if you have them and don't have a contraindication) before you lay down and see if that helps.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Fee. This is not really 'normal', but it's not that uncommon either. It can be from the breathing tube or mask irritating or rubbing against the uvula.

If it has been more than a couple days since your surgery, you may want to let them know. Also, can you see the uvula? Is there any ulceration? Is there any sign of infection (pus)? If so, call right away so you can be seen and possibly get antibiotics.

In the meantime, probably chewing ice or drinking cold fluids will help if anything.

That sounds very annoying!

Fee 8907 4 years ago

Hi Tahoe Doc. I was wondering if a swollen uvula in normal after a surgery. My throat hurts so bad, but i cannot speak because if i try, the the uvula moves to the back of my tongue and is very annoying. This was my first surgery.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Jrtisme- Take him to the doctor/ER. Pain with breathing can be related to the surgical incision BUT it can be a sign that there is an infection at the site OR that there is something going on with the lung as well (like partial collapse or a blood clot).

There is no way for me to diagnose based on what you tell me. He needs someone to SEE him, listen to his lungs, etc. Does he have a fever? Any swelling in a leg? Does he look grey or have any blueness to his lips or fingers? Does he breathe shallow and fast otherwise? All of this and MUCH more info is needed by someone who can see and evaluate him.

Jrtisme 4 years ago

My son had gallbladder surgery 6 days ago - has/is having a strange uncontrolled gasping deep breath randomly that causes stabbing pain in his right rib cage area..... any ideas or concerns?

Concerned Parent 4 years ago

My 16 yr old son had his appendix out laparoscopically 6 weeks ago. Wasn't burst and not too bad aaccording to the doctor. A month before that, he had to be put under to repair a broken nose (HS basketball game). We was cleared to return to playing sports 2 weeks after the appendix surgery. Runs track and plays travel bball.

Question is that he has no stamina and often feels like he's going to throw up. He used to be able to go forever and now can't. He's frustrated. We set up an appt to get his blood tested and go see the surgeon but any idea what it could it be?

Kay 4 years ago

I had acl surgery on Thursday, ever since I feel nauseated and vomit whenever I lay down and it feels like something is in my throat. Cant fall asleep.What is happening.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

You had a scope and were intubated (breathing tube) if I understand correctly, yes?

And at some point they chipped your tooth? Is that right? Did they say your tooth is in your airway? Is that what you mean by leave it in-I wasn't really clear on that part? Usually, the tooth isn't swallowed or inhaled, but I'm not sure if that is what you are saying.

In any case, you need to report back to them that the tooth is chipped and ask them what you should do. Did they know about it before you left?

Each level of testing will determine what they do next. If the ultrasound and HIDA are ok, they might do nothing but watch. If they find something wrong with the gallbladder, like stones or inflammation, they will either recommend diet/lifestyle changes or refer you to a surgeon to see if it needs to come out. If there is something else going on- and I have no idea why you had the scope in the first place - then each step will lead to the next (or watching/waiting or whatever). Does that make sense?

For the sore throat- usually lozenges or ice chips help. You will have to ask your doc about pain meds. If you have risk of bleeding, they won't want you to take blood-thinning meds. If you have elevated liver enzymes, they won't want you to take tylenol (acetaminophen), so it really depends.

Sleep is your friend! Rest will help all of this seem more clear and help you get better faster too. Feel better!!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Gabby- that sounds awful!! It sounds like some information is missing or unclear (not your fault), though.

Do you know if the seizures happened first? Or the airway closing, then seizures? Did they think you had an allergy? Did anyone in your family ever have a similar problem? Did you have high fevers or muscle rigidity?

All of these things will be important clues for them to help you figure this out.

If you haven't had a CT or MRI of the brain, maybe you should (although, if the EEG for epilepsy was normal, it might not show anything).

Did a neurologist see you after these episodes? In followup after all the testing was done? That sounds like a good place to start.

I'm not sure what to tell you except that I've never seen what you have described. If you were in the ICU, I'm sure they did appropriate tests.

As usual, I have to say that neither this article nor these comments should be construed as medical diagnosis or advice - just thoughts on what might be generally helpful.

Good luck. I'm not sure there will be any more useful info, but maybe check out the article I just wrote on seizures and anesthesia. Although, I think yours is unusual and likely won't fall into a common category or pattern.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Jamie- Sorry I didn't see your question sooner. When you have spine surgery, you are laying face down for the length of the operation. The anesthesia and pain medicines can also cause blood vessels to dilate. Sometimes, this can cause redness in the face. However, if you are remotely concerned, you should call your doctor. Allergic reactions, fevers, some medication (?antibiotics and others) side effects can also cause redness of the face.

It doesn't sound like you have anything else with it, but let them know you are experiencing this.

(Obviously, without examining you and seeing your whole medical/surgical record, I can't begin to guess what is actually going on with you and the info here is general info only, and not medical diagnosis or advice).

Kim32 4 years ago

I had a scope today on my throat, gall bladder, and Liver. They chipped one of my teeth and put a tube in my throat to open my air ways, I guess they are going to leave it in????. But also the doctor told my fiancé he is worried about the gall bladder....But I have to have an ultrasound and Hidascan next. What usually takes place after a Hidascan..And what should I do about my chipped tooth...I also have the worst sore throat and I am so tired still from the anesthesia. What should I take for pain....Sorry if this does not make since, still graugy...:)

Gabby 4 years ago

Hi, I've had three major spinal surgeries and one more minor throat surgery to remove my tonsils. All three times I had seizures and my airway closed. Why is this? They even had to intubate and put me in a drug induced coma for days in the ICU. I got tested for epilepsy, but everything was normal. It is the most odd thing, and nobody has answers for me. Now I'm so scared to have surgery, because I fear not being able to breathe. Please help!

jamie 4 years ago

Hi I had a micro discectomy yesterday and now today my face is hot and red but no fever. Is that normal?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

It would be unlikely to be a direct drug effect at this point. Honestly, it sounds like you have a bit of post-traumatic stress type-reaction from the whole ordeal - mostly from the anxiety about the procedure and potential findings. (That's not a diagnosis of PTSD, just a description). Stress can cause a LOT of physical symptoms!

Talk to your doc about interventions like biofeedback, relaxation therapy and possibly medications if needed.

I hope you get (got) good news and that you start to feel better soon.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

FI- Sorry I haven't gotten to your questions sooner. The most important thing is to make sure you anesthesiologist knows you are on those medications. Most anesthesia docs will prefer that you take them as usual leading up to your surgery. BUT, some may have other plans so ask the preop office of your facility what their instructions are. If the doc knows you take them, they will not cause bad effects during your anesthesia. In fact, the sedative that many of us give right before surgery (midazolam, Versed) is a very similar medicine. That medicine may not have as much effect on you if you take the others, but again, the anesthesiologist can adjust the dosage if they know about the Xanax and Valium.

Good luck to you!

Jharcrow 4 years ago

I have question about being put to sleep.I had an endometrial ablasion done with a D & C with a scope 2 weeks ago. I have done great and woke up fine. I have been very concerned though as ever since the procedure I have felt funny.have had mild headaches and feel sorta weird,like lightheaded a little like I am looking in a tunnel.I am also having some anxiety and nervousness. could this still be caused by the drugs used? I find it hard to explain, I just feel nervous and really strange. I would really appreciate any help I can get. I will add I was very very nervous about the surgery and what they might find while doing it. I cried all the way as they took me down for surgery.

Fi 4 years ago

Hi I am actually going to go through a mini - lap to remove an endometriosis cyst in my left ovary of 9cm by 10cm and 2 smaller cyst in the right ovary. This is the first time I am going for a surgery and am feeling extremely nervous and I can't eat and sleep well. I am actually on medication which is diazepam 2mg 2 times a day and Xanax as I have a history of Panic Attack and anxiety. I was just wondering if these medications would interfere with the surgery as I will be on GA. I am really feeling really stress about the whole situation and don't know what I will expect. Hope you can give me some advice. Appreciate lots

mark2d2 4 years ago

thanks very much with the answer! It helps clear it up thank you :)

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author


This is a GREAT question- although I'm sorry that happened to you.

Negative pressure pulmonary edema is a lesser-known, but not that uncommon complication of general anesthesia. I have had 2 cases of it in my career and both patients are fine.

The idea is that when a breathing tube is in, it is the only pathway for oxygen. This mostly occurs if you bite down on the breathing tube at the end of surgery before you are fully aware of what you are doing.

What happens is this. When you breathe in, you generate negative pressure in your chest cavity to draw the air in. If you are biting down on your tube, there is no ability for the air to move. The negative pressure is still generated, however, and transmitted to the chest cavity. This causes the fluid that is in the interstitial (not the open airway spaces-the alveoli) to be drawn into the air spaces. The effect is like a temporary pneumonia with just fluid (not infection) or like when heart failure causes fluid in the lungs.

Lucky for all of us, it does resolve over a few hours and there are almost never any long-term effects. My first patient was a man having knee surgery. The second, just a few years ago, was a woman who was laying on her side for shoulder surgery. I now almost always use a bite block to prevent biting on the tube right before wake up, but couldn't reach her because the surgeon was working from above the head at the time. I spent six hours in ICU with her to make sure she was ok! (although I knew she almost certainly would be). I think in her case, her asthma caused her to cough before she was awake, and she bit down as a reflex.

I will add this to the topics to write about.


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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi AB,

People who are prone to nausea are always prone to it, unfortunately (me, included- yuck).

Having said that, most surgeons and anesthesiologists are aware that vomiting after thyroid surgery can lead to swelling and bleeding that nobody wants to happen.

When you go for your preop, and when you show for surgery, tell them you are very sensitive and prone to nausea and vomiting and that your blood pressure is low/drops. They have so many options to prevent and treat this and I'd say it works well 9/10 times.

Coincidentally, I had my entire thyroid removed in 2007. I did not vomit until about 6 hours after surgery because I waited to long to ask for the anti-nausea medicine.

I wrote a hub here about post-op nausea and vomiting.

mark2d2 4 years ago

Hi there I had a rhinoplasty and when I woke up I had a pulmonary edema which seemed very serious emergency but they cleared it up with Lasix in IV over the next couple of hours then everything was fine. The reasoning given is that I bit down on breathing tube. What does that mean and how does biting on breathing tube give the negative pressure pulmonary edema? For next surgery I had the anesthesiologist said he would use a mouth guard. Are you familiar with this and why does it all happen? I am also an asthmatic but they don't think that was a contributing factor.

Thank you

AB 4 years ago


I have had 3 c sections with spinal block. Each time I almost fainted (low blood pressure?) and nauseous to vomit as the block was administered. During the last c section I also felt the Dr stitching. I'm about to have my thyroid removed - am I likely to experience nausea prior and/ or post surgery?

J19 profile image

J19 4 years ago

He actually works in the Trauma department, but he also specializes in sports injuries.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

I wish I had any idea about orthopedic issues, but I really don't know. Is your doctor a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon? If so, and you trust them, they are probably the best ones to make that call. If it doesn't sound right to you, or your gut says to investigate more, then you could get a second opinion before committing to surgery. It doesn't sound like it's getting any better on its own, though. :( Good luck to you- and most likely that would be a general anesthetic.

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J19 4 years ago

If I was to get it, it would be for the cartilage in my ankle. The doctor told me that I completely tore the ligaments in my ankle, but the swelling continuously stays and never fully goes down. As soon as I have soccer or any other activity the swelling comes right back in my heel. Do you think that this could have something to do with cartilage damage? That's what the doctor is thinking right now.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi J19. It depends on the kind of ankle surgery, but usually, yes, at least in most places where I've worked.

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J19 4 years ago

You get put asleep for ankle surgery?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

All of the things you describe can be normal. But, I agree 3 weeks seems longer than usual for these effects. I would give the surgeon or hospital a call and let them know. They will probably just note it and follow up with you on your regular visit, but do let them know.

Hope you get better quickly!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi CarolA- It is possible that you had an injection of a dye to locate certain types of cells. Methylene blue and indigo carmine, etc will make the urine blue or green for a couple days. You should call the surgery center and ask if you got this dye.

Propofol, the drug used most often to induce (start) general anesthesia is also sometimes used continuously during surgery. This medication has been reported to cause green urine discoloration. This should not cause long-lasting problems for you.

If this doesn't clear up by the end of the day or tomorrow am, call your doc.

(You may want to call anyway, just to report that you have this and see if they have any other instructions for you).

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

I think what we will find is that there is a complex healing and recovery process that affects mental function. I feel that these types of effects are a combination of both- recovery from anesthesia and surgery AND the healing process. With all the physical work that the body has to do and all the chemical changes that go into healing, this doesn't surprise me when I actually think about it.

You are right about the type of study that would have to be done. It would be hard to standardize since more anesthesia needs to be given when there is actual stimulation from surgery, than when you are just lying there anesthetized, so it would be difficult to have controls that got the SAME anesthesia at the same depth for the same time.

Hope you continue to do better!

baseballfan247 4 years ago

Hi Tahoe Doc! I had hernia repair surgery 3 weeks ago. They also had to repair my small intestine that had embedded in a mesh plug from a previous hernia repair surgery. Surgery was about 2-2-1/2 hours long. I was in the hospital for 5 days and all went very well. However, I am experiencing headaches everyday in the back of my head/neck area. I have to take tylenol or advil to relieve the pain but they return after a few hours. Also, my voice has not returned to normal since the surgery - very raspy. Is this normal? I am a little concerned because it has been 3 weeks since the surgery. Thank you.

CarolA 4 years ago

I had radical resection surgery with repair yesterday due to melanoma. This was my first time under general anesthesia. Today I have noticed my urine has a green tint to it. Is that normal? It's not anything that I was told to expect after surgery.

TJS 4 years ago

I was interested in your comments on POCD. I had a hysterectomy 5 weeks ago, and for the first couple of weeks post-op just couldn't concentrate on much of anything. I felt normal, but, as an avid reader, was surprised to find it was an effort to read anything and that I didn't retain info very well. It was the 3rd week post-op before I could read a light novel and follow the plot line. Now 5 weeks post-op, I'm doing much better, but still find it difficult to do mentally demanding work (such as sorting through the stack of statements from doctors, hospital, labs, imaging center, insurance compannies!). I've wondered whether this is from the overall physical stress of recovering from the surgery, or whether it is also contibuted to by the after-effects of general anethesia. As I feel physically better, I also feel stronger mentally. I suppose to separate out the effects, one would have to have a controlled experiment with people undergoing anethetic without any surgery!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi CR,

Allergic reactions can happen after any exposure BUT are rare in any case. People usually tolerate anesthetics the same way they did in the past.

Good luck!!

CR 4 years ago

TahoeDoc, if I did not have any allergic reaction to anesthesia the first time, am I likely to react during a second surgery? Thanks!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

I have not heard of those specific things being caused by anesthesia. Some muscle aches are normal.

It would seem odd to me that adjusting the spinal stimulator could fix something that was caused by anesthesia or that general anesthesia could cause problems just below the waist. It's possible, they just needed to adjust the stimulator, but I can't say for sure (?)

Jandini1 4 years ago

I had to have a revision of a spinal stimulator about 3 weeks ago, when i woke up my legs ans stomache were hurting a severly. My legs were stiff and i could not walk. this went on four hours. My surgeon said it was from the anethesia. When they came to program my machine the pain stopped and i could walk again in about fifteen minutes. have you ever heard of anethesia doing that.

gimena 4 years ago

Side effects also include very dry in you mouth , not easy to read small letters just for while. I had my first surgery. Happy with all doctors and nurses and the anesthesia. No problem.


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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Andy,

Anesthesia and anesthetic are the US English spellings.

Anaesthesia and anaesthetic are British English spellings.

Sometimes the words are used interchangeably. Anesthesia is more often to refer to the state of being unable to feel all or part of the body.

Anesthetic can be used as a noun to describe the same thing, but it can also be used as a term to describe the medications that cause anesthesia (lidocaine is a local anesthetic agent, for example).

The semantics, sometimes, are really determined by tradition in some cases.

Andy27/09/68 4 years ago

Hi doc what is the difference between anesthesia and anaesthetic thanks

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Rudd,

It is different in different places. Where I work, ACL surgery is an outpatient procedure. The surgery takes about 2-3 hours at the most and is done with a general anesthetic plus a femoral nerve block to help with pain relief afterwards.

Again, this may be different in your facility. For example, some places still have an overnight stay (I think) for this. Also, some places will not place nerve blocks on patients who are going home rather than staying in the hospital.

Compared to abdominal surgery, for example, the ACl surgery causes less systemic (all over the body) disturbances. It is less traumatic than knee replacement or other major orthopedic surgery. So, overall, this is a medium-length surgery of average risk, I'd say.

Good luck!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Kay,

This is hard to say. Muscle soreness is not unusual after anesthesia and can sometimes be intense, but if you were actually having spasms, I wonder if you had more of a reaction? or what we call myoclonus to one of the medicines. Still, this may not be recurent on future anesthetics, but it is good to know.

It seems like it was probably a one-time event BUT I would always wonder what they thought. Usually, if it's something that will affect future anesthetics, they will tell you before you leave the hospital. On the other hand, sometimes 'anesthesia stuff' gets dismissed (because there is so much else going on) without much attention. If you weren't admitted to the ICU with high fevers or organ failure, it wasn't malignant hyperthermia--the most dangerous of the reactions that cause muscle spasms, so that's good.

I would try to call (I know it's been a while) the preop or pacu or whoever you have a number for. Tell them you have vague memories of muscle spasms that needed to be treated in recovery and ask them to find out if there is any issue or if they believed this was a one-time event. It seems like it probably is, but I would want to be sure, if it's possible to still get the info.

Let me know what you find out. Start with preop/pacu or the contact number they gave you 'in case of problems or questions'. If you don't still have that, have your surgeon's office staff start tracking the record down for you. Or, they should at least be able to direct you to another number to call to get the info.

I will say, after a year, it's unlikely you will get a lot of info. You can always request your medical records (easier to do if they know you are just curious and not prepping for a lawsuit) and specifically, the anesthesia/pacu record. If there is nothing remarkable in there, then they weren't concerned that this was an issue to be worried about.

Good luck and glad you feel better. Hope you don't have any more surgeries in your future!

Rudd141197 4 years ago

Hi doc I wanted to know if acl surgery was major and if I would be in hospital long after the procidure thanks doc

Kay 4 years ago

First, let me say that this is a very interesting hub. It's so informative. Thanks for doing this!

Last year I had surgery for breast cancer: bilateral mastectomy with tissue expander placement. I don't know what anesthesia I was given, but surgery lasted about 5 hours. In recovery, I experienced severe muscle spasms in my arms and legs. I slept through much of it but remember the nurse telling me about the various things she was doing to try to stop the spasms like applying heat, for instance. It wasn't painful but the spasms were intense. I was aware of the spasms each time she woke me, but I'd fall right back to sleep. Eventually, a doctor came by (the anesthesiologist, I assume but i was too groggy to really know) and prescribed some drug to administer. I ended up being in recovery for 3 full hours before I was allowed to be moved to my room. Later, my muscles felt like I'd run a marathon!

Was that reaction unusual? Do you think this is something I ought to know more about to share with an anesthesiologist should I ever need to have a long surgery again? There were no lasting effects so maybe it's no big deal. I'm just curious.

Lu 4 years ago

Thank-you for this information! My surgery was two weeks ago, and it is very reasuring to read that the psycological effects I have been experiencing are not all that uncommon. I was a little worried there for a bit. Your article is extreamly helpful, Thanks! You are a Gem! :)

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

No and no :). If you have general anesthesia, you are unconscious when the breathing tube is placed and stay unconscious for the whole surgery. You may have vague memories of the operating room for the time you are going to sleep and waking up, and you may have a sore throat from the breathing tube afterwards, though. These things are normal.

Luke123456 4 years ago

Hi doc I'm going into surgery for my knee and wonders if you can feel the tube in your throat or if you know your having surgery thanks

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Rudd. The answer is yes...and no.

For surgery on a knee ligament, there are techniques such as spinal or epidural that can be used. These procedures used to be done with these types of anesthetics more often before general anesthetics became more safe.

While theoretically these sound like good options, there are factors which may make them less likely to be used.

1) Spinal may not last long enough

2) Epidural may not cover the area to be operated on

3) You may not be able to stay 'awake' anyway during the procedure. If you are, you probably won't remember that you were awake due to the sedation used with the spinal or epidural. Even if you have a spinal or epidural, it is difficult to lay on the operating bed comfortably for the time needed to have the repair. Often, after a an hour or two of laying flat on that bed, the amount of sedation needed to keep you comfortable borders on general anesthesia anyway. This is the main reason I default to using general anesthesia and a femoral nerve block (for post-op pain relief).

4) ACL surgery (if that is what you are having done) is an outpatient procedure in most places. If you have a spinal or epidural, you may be more likely to be in the recovery room longer or require admission to the hospital for issues like urinary retention.

Some places will simply not place these types of anesthetics in patients who are scheduled to go home, due to the long recovery time needed.

The main point I would make is that if you are not offered/given a spinal or epidural, there may be good reason. The providers may have learned from experience that they are not great choices with your surgeon, in your hospital or for that procedure.

If you are interested in these techniques, please ask the anesthesiologist if they have a strong preference for one type of anesthesia and why. I hope this question helps you understand why being awake may or may not be an option for you.

Good luck with your surgery!

Rudd141197 4 years ago

hi Doc i have got to have surgery on my torn crutial ligament and its mu first time under the nife is it possebal to stay awake during this pocidure thanks

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi City

There are many reasons why your eyes might be red or bloodshot after anesthesia. This could be an effect or side-effect from the medications, irritation from the tape used to make sure your eyes stay closed, dryness from lowered tear production, etc.

If they are itchy, painful, scratchy or watery in a way that is uncomfortable, you need to call the contact number you were given. Corneal scratches are an occasional problem after surgery and anesthesia that may require follow-up. In this situation, the eye is usually quite uncomfortable and watery.

If it is both eyes and just redness without other issues, it should be mostly gone tomorrow, I would suspect. If not, do give them a call.

Hope you are all better soon.

cityyossi 4 years ago

Hi, Dr.

I would very much appreciate your help.

I had surgery yesterday under general anesthesia using an endotracheal tube. When I awoke from surgery I found myself with extremely blood shot eyes. Is this a side effect from anesthesia and will this go away on its own

Thank you

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Purple- Let me know if I don't answer all your concerns adequately, but I will try.

First is the sore throat. It is possible that the endotracheal tube was a planned part of the anesthetic even if IV medication was to be used. General anesthesia can be given IV or via endotracheal tube (gas). Further, general anesthesia can be given with or without a breathing tube.

I would actually be very surprised if anything other than general anesthesia with a breathing tube or LMA (special mask that goes inside the mouth) was planned for septum surgery. I have never done one with anything other, but it is possible, I suppose that the practice could be different elsewhere if they have developed techniques for doing so. My reason is this: In doing septum surgery, the surgeon is working in the airway. If there was a change in respiration, it would be harder to deal with it if the surgery was already underway. Also, any blood that was created from the surgery would drip to the back of the throat. This can be aspirated or would cause spasm of the vocal cords- again, causing airway issues.

If there is something I don't know about the type of surgery he had or the standard practice at that hospital, there may have been a way to do this with sedation and no breathing tube, I just don't know.

So... the sore throat was possibly caused by the breathing tube or LMA. This doesn't necessarily mean that anesthesia gas was used. The anesthetic could still have been done IV. During septum surgery, I expect the incidence and severity of sore throat could be higher than other surgeries. The lining of the throat is so, so sensitive and the nature of septum surgery dictates that there will be movement of the head before and during surgery with the breathing tube in place. Even a little movement causes the throat to be quite sore from the tube or LMA. This could be why it is worse than in the past.

It seems your other concern is the possibility of an allergic reaction necessitating a breathing tube and causing eyelid swelling.

I hope I answered the part about the breathing tube. I will say that even if a breathing tube was already in place, if he did have a severe reaction, the sore throat would still be worse than expected due to having had swelling there.

There will be no way to know if a reaction happened or was suspected unless you can get a hold of the anesthesia provider who was there. I would HOPE that if something happened like that, they would alert you so you could have that info for future care.

If there was no reaction, I have seen the eyelids swell after nasal surgery. Also, if he is sensitive to many things, it's possible that he had a local reaction/swelling to any tape used to keep the eyes closed during surgery. Does he have sensitivities to other adhesives or was there redness at the IV site or EKG pad areas from adhesive? This might be a clue that he has an adhesive sensitivity.

I'm sure this must be so frustrating. Based on the medications you cited, I'm guessing you are in the UK or elsewhere (not in the US), so I'm not sure what the procedures are to getting the records. If you can get the anesthetist to take a look at the chart and answer these questions, that would help a bit.

If you approach them as 'just curious', they will likely be more willing and able to help you. I know it's instinct for medical professionals to become defensive if they feel like they are being accused of something. If you approach them like you did here with "I just have a few questions, I'm not angry, just curious", you will probably hit less resistance. I know personally, I LIKE being a partner in health-care and answering questions and providing answers, but even I become a bit more defensive if I feel like a target. Does that make sense? That's my way of saying, I like your approach and you have asked legitimate and good questions and should be able to get answers without being put off.

Good luck and let me know if I can clarify further.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Purple- Sorry it is taking me so long to get to this. I will get back to this tonight or tomorrow morning and try to address as many of your concerns as possible- I can sense your frustration at not knowing what went on.

purple666 4 years ago

Hi. It's great to have someone who may give an honest answer. My son had his septum repaired yesterday and I was told by the anesthetist his anesthetic would be given iv unless there were complications. I was in the theater when they induced him and that was definitely iv. However, on return he was in agony with his throat. He has had surgery before and as would be expected he's had the usual dry sore throat. My son has a high pain threshold usually, so when he declared the paracetamol ineffective and asked for morphine (He's only 14) I became curious as to what was happening. They gave him endone which worked well, and I'm not sure why he wasn't given that initially as that is the drug he was bringing home for post op recovery. Nothing was mentioned to me about a problem with anaesthetic, but I'm always very cautious of allergies of any description as he suffers a lot with very serious symptoms from inhaled allergens. I didn't give him an antihistamine in the morning as he was fasting for surgery. When he returned from theatre I noticed his eyelids were very swollen which concerned me as it looked the same as one of his severe allergic reactions. I was expecting to see swelling under his eyes from the surgery, but couldn't see why his eyelids would look like that. The nursing staff assured me he was fine, but seriously, previous personal experience has proven to me there is often little to no communication between theatre and wards. I also never got to see his medical file, as it was always in the hands of the nurse or back in the nurses station. I'm not wanting to point fingers at anyone but am curious as if he has an allergy to anything in theatre I think it's important to know. Using my knowledge of my own children and veterinary anesthetic background, I am wondering if he had an allergic reaction to something that compromised his airways, making it necessary to insert an endotracheal tube through a restricted airway. He didn't have hives or vomit after he was returned to the ward, but I can't think of anything else that would've caused the sort of pain he was in. To elaborate on his pain tolerance, he left hospital 13 hours ago and hasn't wanted even the paracetamol, let alone the stronger painkillers he was given. I'd appreciate your input, and I'm definitely not looking to point any fingers, I just hate being in the dark.

Maria 4 years ago

Thanks for such a quick reply.

Just to let you know what I've been told the teeth problems (especially for front teeth) are caused by the tube being put in and out when teeth are already compromised. I have bone loss which means my teeth are quite delicate. Also I clench or grind my teeth so if the tube isn't removed early enough problems can be caused by the patient biting down on it as they come round. My dentist warned me to make certain to speak to the anaesthesiologist about it before the operation as he was concerned. I think he has had to make repairs to people's crowns and veneers after surgery.

Apparently teeth damage is the most common reason for anaesthesiologists being sued in the US (I'm in the UK) and my internet research beforehand seemed to bear this out. I was asked about crowns and told they could not guarantee not to damage them!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

I don't know of anything that would cause mobility of teeth related to anesthesia. I also don't have specific information about disrupted menstrual cycles after anesthesia, BUT that is not to say they don't happen. Either we don't know enough about them or they are insignificant enough (on a critical event type scale, not a personal experience scale), that we don't study them.

I don't know about loosened teeth. I guess, if the stress of surgery or anesthesia or one of the medications interfered with connective tissue structure or function, then this could be a potential result. Theoretically, anything is possible. I have had several people ask about hair loss, too. Not a highly reported effect, but seems to be asked about a lot.

Also, I don't think it's a stretch to say that surgery and anesthesia are disruptive to the body. Interference with hormones acting on many body systems most likely occurs. It is speculation as far as I know, but since we know that other kinds of stress can cause irregular menstrual periods, I don't see why this type of stress couldn't have the same effect.

I think some of us are more in-tune with our bodies and therefore, notice these things more than someone else might. That's not a bad thing as it leads us to ask questions that may help someone else too!

Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

Maria 4 years ago

Hi TahoeDoc, what a useful page. I wish I'd found it before my surgery!

I had general anaesthetic recently for a femoral bone lesion biopsy near the knee and recovered pretty well (apart from some short term disruption/extra mobility with my teeth which are mostly crowns - something I believe happens a fair bit but is not mentioned on your page so far).

I had started my period the day before surgery but got another (short) period two weeks later. A friend who used to be a nurse said this was because of the anaesthetic but looking online (which is how I stumbled on your page) I can't find anything much about this. Have you heard of anaesthesia causing menstrual irregularities or is my friend mistaken?

As I'm 45 I thought perhaps this was the start of the menopause so it would be good to know if it might be related to my procedure!

Maria 4 years ago

Hi TahoeDoc, what a useful page. I wish I'd found it before my surgery!

I had general anaesthetic for a knee biopsy recently and recovered pretty well (apart from some short term disruption/extra mobility with my teeth which are mostly crowns - something I believe happens a fair bit but is not mentioned on your page so far).

I had started my period the day before surgery but got another (short) period two weeks later. A friend who used to be a nurse said this was because of the anaesthetic but looking online (which is how I stumbled on your page) I can't find anything much about this. Have you heard of anaesthesia causing menstrual irregularities or is my friend mistaken?

As I'm 45 I thought perhaps this was the start of the menopause so it would be know if it might be related to my procedure!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Lucia- How frustrating- not only to have that happen, but to not have a good explanation! You are correct, that does sound like POCD. It is more unusual in your age group, especially since you are likely mostly healthy and did not have emergency surgery.

I also don't have a better explanation BUT I will not dismiss this as being your imagination or suggest that you are mistaken or exaggerating. I think docs lose sight of the fact that things CAN happen that we just can't explain. Doctors don't like to say "I don't know", so often their replies either are -- or feel like -- a dismissal or minimization of your experience. This happened a lot with intraoperative awareness until enough people reported the experience that it got some attention. Patients also don't like to hear "I don't know" from a doctor and may not be so satisfied with that as an answer anyway.

I will be publishing a hub today on POCD. There isn't a lot of info known, but it's a start. We are just beginning to understand and study this, but hopefully, if people keep speaking out like you did (even in the face of being dismissed), we will start to understand more about it!.

Keep 'exercising' your brain if you are still having problems. Do crossword puzzles, math problems, read, etc... It does help your brain re-establish itself.

Good luck and keep in touch if you have other questions.

Goldenla 4 years ago

Thanks very much! I'm feeling (mostly) better

Lucia 4 years ago

Hello, I'm 19, and female, I had general anaesthesia last year to remove 4 wisdom teeth, as well as a lot of local anaesthetic, so much that I couldn't move the right side of my face; I became combative at this realization. Many things I experienced post surgery are consistent with the descriptions of POCD. I was experiencing memory lapses, and felt 'out of it,' although I hadn't been taking pain meds. I was doing oddities like trying to dry my hair even though I had not washed it. Other things were struggling to write sentences for an email 3 days later. Throughout the week, and following weeks I'd get lost, have difficulty writing shopping lists, felt very strange in myself. I noticed cognitive decline, in terms of depth of thought and topics of thought, interests and executive functioning, problems with simple decision making. I tried to go back to university, only to notice difficulty studying and reading, processing information and remembering what I had just read. In all my attempts at seeing doctors about this, I was dismissed, and still don't have an explanation for this. I'm guessing I had no complications during or immediately after the anaesthesia, but I don't have anything else to blame.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Shirley. There is no reason that itching for this long should be related to anesthesia. However, itching can be a sign of so many things including issues with the liver or gallbladder. You should mention this to your primary doctor. Also, dry skin and other simple problems can cause itching. There are too many possible causes, so best see your doc. Hope you feel better- I'm sure that's annoying!

Rebel 4 years ago

Thanks TahoeDoc.

shirley 4 years ago

had anesthesia in janurary have not stopped itching could it be from that.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author


Sorry, for some reason, my answer didn't post. Urinary retention is an after-effect of both anesthesia and pain medications. Usually, infection won't result unless you have retention for quite a long time. I hope that this is either resolved or you have sought medical attention for this by now. Good luck to you.

@ Rebel- Yep, any amount of remembering or not remembering can be normal for the sedation they use for colonoscopies. It depends on what medications they use, what doses you require, your own tolerance and metabolism. Your experience sounds kind of ideal for a colonoscopy! Take care.

Rebel 4 years ago

Is it normal to not even remember the anesthesia being given to me before colonoscopy. The last thing I remember was being in the room and them adjusting my pillow. Then I awoke as I was rolled into recovery.

Goldenla 4 years ago

Good Morning,

On Tuesday of this past week I had outpatient eye surgery (correcting ambleyopia). I arrived home about 12 noon. That day I had trouble urinating. I felt like I had to go but it was difficult emptying my bladder. On Wednesday morning I woke-up with really bad back pain on the right hand-side under my rib cage. I've been using heat and ice and doing TONS of stretching. It is better but stil quite painful. Might there be some kidney infection or something resulting from the general anesthetic? I'm very healthy (no chronic health problems, athletic, 138 lb, 5'7", don't smoke, social drinker)

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Rebecca- sounds like you had a bumpy recovery!

There are many things that can cause the feeling you describe. Either type of anesthesia itself if 'leftover' in the recovery room can do it and so can preexisting medical conditions. I have no idea what happened in your case, however, as this can be a complicated issue with reasons and explanations that can't really be guessed without knowing the whole story. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. Are you able to call the anesthesiologist for a better explanation? There are just too many variables to pin it down.

Unfortunately, post-op pneumonia is always a risk (and not a terribly unusual one- although we still don't see it THAT often) of surgery, anesthesia and post-op pain medications. I'm really, truly sorry that you had a hard time. Again, sorry I can't be of more help.

Rebecca 4 years ago

I had Mixture of General Anesthesia and an Epidural Pain Pump for a Tendon Repair Surgery for my Right Ankle.

Back in November! And when I woke in the Recovery Room I felt like I was Choking and Could NOT breathe! I was Given breathing treatments and oxygen.

What I want to know is: was that a Complication of the Anesthesia mixture?

Not only that but I got Post-Op pneumonia from it as well.

Which delayed my recovery through January.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Farrah. It does sound like this could be from the gas used to inflate the abdomen (IF you had laparoscopic surgery). If you did not have laparoscopic surgery, then it could still be related to surgical changes, depending on what you had done. Either way, call your surgeon's office, just so they are aware.

Any problems with breathing should be addressed immediately by your doctor or an ER. I think I know what you are saying, and it is probably just the gas/air given that it changes with position BUT, to make sure it is not a blood clot or developing pneumonia (which you will be at risk for if you really can't expand your lungs), or something else, you need to call your surgeon, at least. They may advise you to wait another day or so before coming in, but it's best they know. If you really have trouble breathing, you should be evaluated right away so that your oxygen level can be checked.

In the mean time, even if it hurts, do try to take deep breaths at least once in a while. Hold the breath for a few seconds and repeat a few times. Did they give you a 'spirometer' to breathe with? Sometimes they will send you home with one- it's an instrument to help you measure your deep breaths.

Hope you feel better. :)

Farrah 4 years ago

I had surgery on 3.20.12, two days ago on my abdomen involving general anesthesia. I have had a very difficult time breathing. My breath is very shallow and feels like I cannot expand my chest or diaphragm muscle. Also, it seems as if I'm gravity elimated, there is not nearly as much pressure but when standing against gravity, it is very difficult to breathe. On top of this I have been experiencing cramping/stabbing sensations under my rib cage down both sides of my flank

I'm assuming these are air pockets.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Linda G. Sorry I couldn't respond earlier. It seems like this has happened more than once. It's possible that if they knew about the previous reactions, that they tried to change the medications around and you still got a rash. In this case, they probably would like an allergist to help to figure out what is going on. It probably is a good idea at this point since it wasn't a one-time event.

The itching can be a normal side-effect of narcotic medications that were likely part of your sedation. The hives, however, signal an allergic reaction.

Perhaps you can take the benedryl at night? and the pepsid during the day. Might help you get some sleep and hopefully, get better faster.

Good luck to you!

linda g. 4 years ago

I had a colonoscopy & an egd done on march 13 . aprox . 8 hours after procedure i was covered in hives, this has happened before with other procedures but not to this extent, the hives are gone but i still have extreme body itching. I am now being refered to an allergist. what could be the most logical reasoning behind the extreme body itching and is an allergist really going to help.

i was given a script for benadryl and pepcid to cut down on itching and hives but i need to work so i cant take the benadryl. any info is most appreciated

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Post-operative cognitive dysfunction can take time to resolve (if it's going to) in older people. BUT, I have not heard of deafness as being part of the syndrome. Your mother might need an evaluation by an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor or neurologist to help figure out what could be causing the deafness. Some medications can do it and so can viruses and ?? I wish I could help more, but she needs to see a specialist if she hasn't already. Please come back and let me know what, if anything, is found.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

KnubelZ- It is unlikely that this will be permanent, BUT, it has gone on long enough that your doctor may want to do some tests of your head or spine, do another exam or something. You should see your primary doctor or surgeon and ask if there is anything else they should do.It may just still be a waiting game, but 3 weeks seems to be on the long side for this to go away. Good luck and I'm sorry you are suffering.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Megan- The sweats are more likely a result of the inflammation and healing going on in your body than from an anesthesia side effect this far out from surgery. There is a possibility that you have a reaction to a medication that affects your temperature regulation. Interesting that you have had the reaction before. I haven't heard of this, but I'll bet others have experienced it too. If you have a fever or are concerned that something isn't right, call your doctor. This seems like it probably isn't causing you serious problems, but it's never bad to make your doctors aware of what is going on.

Hope you are getting better fast.

Susan Davis 4 years ago

My 83 year old Mother had back surgery almost a month ago. After the surgery she was tripping and we just thought it would go away .It lasted for about a week she was out of it Scared ,hallucinations ,disoriented , totally not my Mother in any way .She is also totally deaf we have to write everything . She has been on heavy pain meds for two years but the doctors had a list of all meds before surgery. I would love to be able to help but how . They even asked me yesterday if I thought she was faking and could really hear. It is obvious to all she is not and what for? Any thoughts please This whole thing has been a nightmare and nothing good has come out of it

Knubel Z 4 years ago

Hi TahoeDoc,

I am still having the headache and it keeps coming back, its been nearly three weeks since the surgery. It is not that severe as it used to be. But I am wondering if this pain is permanent?

or should I have to have another medical intervention.

Thank you for your opinion


MeganStodgell 4 years ago

Hi, I am 26 yof and I had a hip labral repair 6 weeks ago. I have been breaking out in a sweat (my whole body) very easily since then. Could this be a side effect of anesthesia? I have had several other surgeries and remember this happening before, but not for this long. Thank you!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Jessica,

This is likely a side-effect of a muscle-relaxing medication used during anesthesia combined with the fact that you were laying still on the operating table for the duration of your surgery. I'm sorry you seem to be one of the people who get this side effect more severely. It can be a normal side-effect of this medication. I think it is worse after sleeping because the muscles get stiff and you aren't moving when you sleep.

The good news is that it should get better day by day and be gone in a few days if this is the cause (seems likely, but without knowing what meds they used and how long your surgery was, I can't be absolutely sure, so still call them as they have your records). Usually, the pain meds will help and I'm sorry they aren't helping you. Heating pads can be a huge relief too - just move them around and keep them away from any areas that may be numb from your surgery.

I really hope this gets better today and that the worst is over.

Jessica 4 years ago

I had surgery yesterday morning and being my first time ever having general anesthesia, I am not sure what to expect. I took a nap yesterday when I got home and when I woke up... Every muscle in my body hurt! After moving around a little while... The pains went away. This morning it was even worse when I woke up... Took me twenty minutes to try to get out of bed and I feel like my muscles "froze up" and hurt emensely. Muscles from my calves all the way up to my neck really hurt and I am not sure that this is normal. Waiting for day surgery to open up to ask them what is going on but figured you would have some answers... Seems to happen only when I sleep. It scared me because trying to walk after finally getting out of bed hasn't been easy and the pain meds haven't worked for this.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Vlad. This is a great question. I have some initial thoughts, but want to double-check a couple things, so please bear with me. I will get back to this question in the next 48 hours. Thanks for reading :)

Vlad 4 years ago

Hi, Tahoe Doc,

Reading of all these side effects from anesthesia would it help to take some supplements before and after the general such as milk thistle, ascorbic acid, and activated charcoal (after the surgery)? I'll have my lap hernia surgery next Monday. Thanks!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Brittney,

Usually, post-op fever is just a sign of inflammation and healing, but you have to make sure it isn't anything else, like infection. The only way to really do this is to see your doctor if you are concerned that it is more than a regular post-op fever.

In adults, a common cause of fever after surgery is atelectasis. This means that parts of the lungs aren't fully expanded. During and after surgery and when taking pain meds, breathing becomes more shallow, leaving parts of the lungs unexpanded. This usually isn't such a big issue in kids, but make sure he is taking big deep breaths if he can/will cooperate.

Other things can cause fever and redness of the skin, too, such as reactions to medications, influence of prior medical problems and so on, but most commonly, it is a normal post-op increased temperature due to the necessary inflammation that happens after surgery.

Kids are amazing in their ability to bounce back from these things and I hope he is already starting to feel better! And good job to you- it's never easy to watch your child undergo surgery.

Brittney 4 years ago

My two year old under went dental surgery yesterday and was given he almost feels feverish with a very red face but doesnt seem sick at all...i know the nurse told me when we left yesterday he would feel feverish just didnt know for how long.

Bill 4 years ago

Thanks again Tahoe Doc!! I called and they said it should be fine. They gave me valium i believe to relax...felt like i was in the matrix. Everything seemed to go great...just the bleeding from the teeth is kind of a pain but overall not swollen just sore. Thanks again this site is a huge help for getting great info. I'm the kind of person that likes to know everything as it helps ease my anxiety. Not sure if you ever heard of it but I was told to take homeopathic arnica for the pain and swelling and I have to say it worked wonders on the swelling for sure. All mine were impacted and two were sideways and right on the nerve so I was expecting the worst but everything went great.

Thanks again

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Bill- Good luck to you. I'm not sure what time your surgery is scheduled, but you might want to call in the morning before leaving the house or on your way there.

Surgeries CAN be rescheduled for illness. Usually, it is safe to proceed unless you have a cough where you are coughing up phlegm or have a fever. BUT, different institutions and doctors have different policies depending on the surgery. The risk is that the lungs will be more 'reactive' if you have a URI. If you have asthma or are a smoker, you have additional risk for having lung or oxygen problems and may increase the chance of being rescheduled. They will probably want to see you and at least talk to you in person or listen to your lungs before making that decision. Some institutions have more strict policies and will reschedule for any illness. All of these are acceptable if based on history and physical by a qualified provider.

Also, ask about the Xanax. This is also up to the institutional policy or the personal preference of the anesthesiologist or whoever is providing the sedation.

Personally, I prefer that my patients take the meds that they usually take or will help them. BUT, I cannot tell you what you should do as I don't know what they will want you to do. I'm so sorry I can't help. Call them before you go or on your way there and ask if you can take your Xanax.

Good luck. I hope you get the answers you need!

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Michelle- Thank you for your question. This is one that I get a lot more than I expected. I didn't realize that this happened more than I thought. So thank you and the others who ask about this for my education as well.

The stresses of surgery and general anesthetics affect the whole body. The stress response does 'stun' hair follicles. In addition, the body spends its resources 'healing' and non-essential functions get less attention for a while. There are also likely some effects from the anesthesia medications themselves. So, yes, your surgery and anesthesia can contribute to temporary hair loss. It shouldn't last long though, so is temporary and reversible.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Agata- Your tongue should not be numb in most cases 5 days after the surgery, but some people do experience this for months or even permanently. It is possible that a nerve was stretched or injured during the course of the operation and may be a normal 'side effect'. However, you should definitely call the surgeon/dentist who performed the surgery and let them know that this is still going on. They may want to follow or examine you to see if they can determine why you are still having this. Or they may be able to reassure you that this can happen and tell you what to expect as far as recovery.

That has to be a weird and annoying feeling and I hope you return to normal soon. Take care and do call them. This isn't my area of expertise so you should talk to them for sure.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Will- I don't doubt that the anesthesia, the illness that requires surgery, the surgery (and the body's efforts to recover) and pain meds can cause sleep disturbances. Unfortunately, not much is known about the specifics of each component's contribution or expected duration, partially because there are so many variables that can play into this (pain, medications, changes in metabolism, inflammation, hormone and inflammatory mediator release). I hope you feel better soon. Do rest when you can and be good to yourself as your body rebuilds itself and heals.

Bill 4 years ago


I am having my 4 wisdom teeth and 2 other teeth pulled tomorrow under IV sedation. I do get pretty bad anxiety at times especially with the dentist. Should I take a xanax prior to the appointment...also I'm worried about after the procedure as well. Also I was told if you have a cold the could possibly postpone the procedure. Thanks for your help!

Michelle 4 years ago

I just had surgery about a week ago and since then I've noticed that I'm losing a lot of hair. Is this normal? I've had the same procedure 2 times before and all I remember then was that my hair went from curly to straight back to curly I don't remember shedding this much. Thanks for any help you can provide.

Agata 4 years ago


I had all of my wisdom teeth taken out last Saturday under general anaesthetics and half of my tong is still numb and swollen. Is it normal for the numbness and swelling to last 5 days after the operation? Thanks

will 4 years ago

Had a laparoscopic appendectomy a little over two days ago. Procedure went well - in and out of the hospital in less than 24 hours. Worked through the soreness and tightness associated with the surgery pretty well. Pain tolerated well - pain medication discontinued after first day. Only remaining side effect is difficulty sleeping. Have a very hard time getting to sleep and when I do it is fitful with rapid pace dreams - not very restful. I am sleeping only about an hour at a time. Get up for a while then have to try to get back to sleep for another short sleep segment. Is this general restlessness and sleep difficult a side effect of the anesthesia? Thanks.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Melissa,

That's a long time to suffer effects of anesthesia. I think the more we learn about surgery , anesthesia and the body's response to both, we will find that these types of 'hard-hits' that some people take are from a combination of all. That is just my opinion or feeling and is NOT based in current knowledge.

Having said that, you do at least need to let your surgeon know that you are still having these symptoms.

Did the anesthesiologist, by chance, put a motion-sickness patch behind one of your ears to help prevent nausea. Some of the symptoms you describe can definitely be from a medicine called scopolamine in the patch. The patch can stay on for up to 3 days and the effects can take a day to go away after it is off.

Call your doctor, HYDRATE yourself (unless you have kidney, heart or other issues that make this inadvisable), and rest as needed. Hope you feel better soon!

Melissa 4 years ago

I had breast surgery on Friday and today is Tuesday and I am still feeling dizzy, confused, having night sweats, disoriented, blurred vision, tingly. I have not taken any pain medications at all. What can I do to feel better? Is this a result to the anesthesia?

Thank you

Knubel Z 4 years ago

Thank you very much for your insight, it gives me an idea what is happening. I am going to see the doctor on Thirsday and hopefully this pain will be subsided then.


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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

A severe headache that is worse when you stand up and is better when lying down does sound like it could be a spinal headache. It sounds like this is what your doctor is saying he thinks you have.

We believe this occurs when spinal fluid leaks out of the sac surrounding the spinal cord which can happen (although is pretty rare now) after spinal anesthesia. It is more common after spinal taps done for diagnosis because the needles are larger, but can definitely happen after spinal anesthesia.

The treatment prescribed is correct. Hydration (and A LOT of it), caffeine and lying down do provide relief and may speed healing.

If you are not better in a couple more days, an epidural blood patch is another option. If the anesthesiologist is available and there is no contraindication (for example, taking blood thinners, etc), this may be possible. In an epidural blood patch, blood is removed sterilely from a vein in your arm and then injected into the epidural space. This involves putting another needle in your back, in the epidural space, and injecting the blood there. Because this procedure involves further risk, some choose to treat spinal headaches with fluids, caffeine and rest only, so I'm not sure this will be available to you.

Most often, the spinal headache will resolve within a week. Certainly, call your doctor or the anesthesiologist (office or operating room, recovery room, etc) if you are still suffering and find out if there is anything else you can do.

I'm sorry you are in pain, spinal headaches are severe.

(*The information here is not meant to diagnose or treat or recommend any course of therapy for any particular condition. This info is meant to provide general information only)

Knubel Z 4 years ago

Hi Tahoedoc,

I had a Hernia surgery last thursday and and discharged two days later. Since then I am suffering from severe headache and muscle stiffening around shoulder and neck. Yesterday I went too see the doctor again and he told me it is related to anesthesia (Anesthesia was in lower body only). He said its related to lower spinal pressure and I should lie down drink lot of coffee and to keep hydrated. He has also prescribed codomol which I take three times a day. Since this morning my muscle stiffening has gone but my headache keeps coming back. I feel better only if I lie down.

I have just moved here nepal for work and would be really happy if you could give some advice.


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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Tuckerfoo, Thanks for reading and commenting!

I'm sorry the muscle pain is so bad. I have heard from a few people that it feels like a massive workout soreness all over the body.

Really, the only good news is that it will go away in a few days. I don't know if you were given pain meds for post-op. If so, do not combine them with tylenol as they frequently have acetaminophen (Tylenol) in them. Large doses of acetaminophen can cause liver problems and liver failure.

In addition to pain meds and a heating pad, make sure you stay very well hydrated (unless you have orders to the contrary from a doctor who knows you or medical problems that make it a bad idea - renal failure, heart failure, etc). Hydration helps flush out the byproducts of muscle metabolism.

I hope you are feeling better. You should call your doc right away if you have a fever.

If you have to have surgery again, tell them that you had bad muscle pain. There may be other medications they can use to treat (or pretreat) you to prevent that side effect from being so bad.

Feel better!

Tuckerfoo 4 years ago

Let me just say first off GREAT SITE!!!

I want you to know that my post op muscle pain is horrible. I am post op day 1 from kidney stone removal. I have had anesthesia before and no muscle pain... This is the absolute worst! Any advice besides the Tylenol and heating pad?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

@Dee- Two weeks is a long time to have continued nausea. Anesthesia agents are sufficiently short that they should be gone by now. Breast surgery tends to produce more nausea (my theory- it's because 'female' hormones are released by disturbing breast tissue) than other types of surgery. Pain, itself, leads to nausea as do the pain meds until they are out of your system. Dehydration can contribute as well. If this is not resolved in another day or so OR if you have fever, shortness of breath or other unusual symptoms, call the doc right away. Feel better :)

@Ian- so glad this was helpful. This is exactly why I write. There are some things that happen to some, but not all, people and it's hard to know what is unexpected and what is not that unusual. The itching can be pretty annoying- hope the benedryl works. It WILL add to any sedation you get from the pain meds, so start with lower doses until you know how it will affect you. Wishing you speedy healing!

Ian 4 years ago

Thanks for the information! I just underwent dual knee surgery about 15 hrs ago and ever since I can't stop itching!! Especially the tip of my nose which is getting quite annoying! Thanks to your article I am off to get some Benadryl as long as it isn't effected by the codine in the pain killers as I will ask my pharmacist! Thanks again!

Dee 4 years ago

Hi! I had some a breast reduction 2 weeks ago today and am still feeling nauseous. I haven't taken a pain pill in two days but am taking Tylenol for discomfort. I'm eating regularly, resting, etc. Any reason you may have for the nauseousness???

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Patti- What you describe sounds more like pressure sores from being immobilized for that long, rather than from anesthesia, directly. When you 'sleep' under anesthesia, your muscles/joints are not able to make even small adjustments in position to compensate for pressure placed on areas. Further, your brain is not even able to perceive that you need to move. Also, many people will have low back pain after laying flat on the OR table for so many hours. Sometimes the anesthesia provider or nurse will place pillows under the knees if we know you have low-back pain, or during a lengthy surgery. Sometimes, we just can't get to it though because it would disrupt the surgery or the sterile table is in the way, or for whatever reason.

We use special padding made of foam or gel to pad these areas, but they aren't as effective for such a long surgery.

Hopefully, you will get better quickly. If you are still having problems in a couple days, let your surgeon know. Also, if you develop any fevers or pus in the blisters, call immediately!

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

MissJay86 4 years ago

Thanks for your comments. interesting you mention the possibility of infiltration. When the canular was put in it hurt and the anaesthetist said it had bruised (quite a bit) and mentioned taking it out and trying my other arm. Could thar have anything to do with it? I defintely felt much more sedated afterwards. I'm still feeling very spacey today. I'll run this by my surgeon when I see him in a month if it's still bothersome. Thanks again!

Patti 4 years ago

Had surgery for 11 hrs face And neck lift now my spine hurts near buttocks and I have huge water blisters on my heels of feet. Is this from anesthesia?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi MissJay- Sorry it took so long to answer you. I'm sorry you feel so 'blah'.

The issue with your IV and you arm could be a couple things. Either there was some reaction to a medication that was going through there OR the IV 'infiltrated'. This means the fluid and medication that should have gone into the vein, was actually being deposited under the skin. Either way, these things are really (usually) not predictable and probably not preventable.

I agree that it does seem excessive for a healthy, fit 25 year old to be wiped out 4 days after a short procedure. I also agree that POCD, although you describe it perfectly, would also be unusual in your age and health category. But, your description is spot-on for that. Luckily, it should be very short-term in your case.

If your IV was infiltrated, it is possible that there was pain medication or sedative under the skin. This would be important because that medication would be absorbed into the blood stream more slowly. Perhaps that contributed to the prolonged effects you are feeling, especially combined with the pain medications. If it wasn't infiltrated and you did have some local sensitivity, reaction, allergy in that arm, it may be that your body is recovering from that too, as well as from any extra medication that you were given to treat it. By now, you've had a few more days to clear your system. I truly hope you feel better.

I think all of the things you mentioned- maintain your hydration, sleep and rest your brain and your body and perhaps some exercise could help you feel more normal, more quickly.

I would say that if you are not feeling better by now, please report these things to your surgeon or general medical doctor. Give the same descriptions, you gave here as they were clear and descriptive and helpful. If you are still bothered by these symptoms, your doctor may be able to get more info about your anesthetic and experience in the recovery room. Likely, though, you won't find out much that will help you BUT, it might be worth asking.

Good luck! I hope the fog is lifting and you are feeling more normal. Let me know if you have other questions.

MissJay86 4 years ago

Hi Tahoedoc. Great hub and excellent, informative information! I'm impressed by your dedication.

I'm a week from my laparoscopy surgery which I had a general anaesthetic for. When I awoke the arm where the canular was was huge and swollen (looked like popeye!). They were fussing around in a bit of a panic and 3 hours later got it back to normal with cold presses and maybe something else (I was in and out of sleep). They said it was a local reaction. I'm not sure if that is relevant to my question, but I've had generals in the past with no problems aside from the odd nausea. I am a very fit and healthy 25yr old and the procedure was no more than an hour. However I felt completely wiped-out for 4 days after, sleeping heaps, nauseated, no appetite, weak, and lightheaded. I am on no pain meds as of day 3 post op. The worst troubling me is poor cognition - feeling confused, unable to concentrate or gather my thoughts, difficulty holding conversations, low energy, hazy unfocused vision. I also feel a little emotional and flat. I've read your above comments about POCD, but not sure this applies given my age nd health status. I am keen to be rid of this drugged feeling I'm experiencing so that I can regain normality/be able to function at work. Is these just normal anaesthetic side effects, and if so how long does it take to feel 'right' again (I'm used to recovering from a general after 2-3 days)? Does anything assist the body to recover faster (surgery wise I'm healing nicely) - exercise, sleeping more, increase fluid uptake?

Your comments much appreciated. Regards, Miss J

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Thank you Cynthia, for your comments and input- much appreciated. And it's nice to 'meet' you!

I did neglect to address the welts on the neck- thank you- that was inadvertant as I was answering on my mobile device. I agree, it was most likely from lifting the jaw to open the airway, which can obstruct under sedation.

(disclaimer: As always, no information given or assumption made online should be construed as a necessarily accurate diagnosis. :) )

cynthia 4 years ago

I am an anesthesiologist and still working full-time after

30 yrs in the specialty. Your responses were excellent and

I'm proud to have you representing our specialty.

Your answer to Tina did not address the " large welts on

either side of my neck under my ears". It is my humble opinion that those were signs of the effort of her anesthesiologist to maintain a patent upper airway and/or

stimulate her to breathe spontaneously.Many times this

jaw-thrust maneuver is a life-saver.Fortunately , we now

have mandatory ETCO2 monitors in all our anesthetizing locations so upper airway obstruction during sedation

procedures are less common.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Tenayah- I haven't heard of this specifically happening- where the combativeness recurs at home, but I'll bet it happens a lot. Kids and adults will wake up confused, defensive and combative not uncommonly. I'm not a psychologist, but I'll bet she is confused by the whole experience and that this is more of a psychological effect than a direct drug effect. Kids have such a hard time expressing their feelings and fears and sometimes just act out. Her brain may associate being awakened with the feeling of waking in the hospital.

You can ask her surgeon or pediatrician if there is anything else you can do- like how to ask her if she is mad or confused about what happened to her and how to help her move past it.

I'm sure that the necessary unpleasantness of taking our children (mine have been there too) to the hospital, having them anesthetized, doing an operation on them and waking them up in a strange place with strange people around them has a psychological impact- luckily this seems to be temporary and fades in time.

Good luck- just keep loving her and letting her know you are there for her so she has that security. I think this should get better soon. But, please ask her pediatrician for any other suggestions as I can't give real medical advice on the internet as I cannot see and examine her (disclaimer). Let me know if I can help any more.

Tenayah 4 years ago

My 4 y/o daughter had her tonsils and adenoids removed last Friday, she was completely sedated, when she woke up from the sedation she was combative and didn't want to be touched. Here it is a week later and she is doing the same thing. She willl go to bed and an hour or two later she is whinning in her sleep and when I try to console her she becomes combative, telling me not to touch her then sometimes she gets out of bed and storms off to another room. Is this normal? What can I do?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Yuck Tina-heaving is awful! Colonoscopies are usually done with just sedation (by the GI and nurse-no anesthesiologist). They do sometimes use a narcotic medicine as part of the sedation and that is the most likely cause of the heaving.

You might think about calling and asking them today, just so they can look it up in your chart and record that you had this reaction, so they can try different protocol next time.

Feel better :)

Tina 4 years ago

Yesterday I had a colonoscopy done and was put under anaesthesia. I had violent dry heaves afterward and I also took quite a bit of time coming out of it. For some reason I also have large welts on either side of my neck under my ears. I'm assuming that was from the oxygen tube. As of this afternoon I was finally able to navigate the stairs up to my bedroom. I'm hoping that by tomorrow I'll be more functional. If I ever have to have a procedure done again I will mention all this to the doctors and see if there is something that can be used that I will not react so violently to. I never want to go through that again.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Have the doctors given you anything else to go on? An epidural should not cause prolonged sleepiness.

There is a phenomenon called "post-operative cognitive dysfunction" that affects older people (even those who are healthy). There is often a decline in mental functioning- usually it isn't staying asleep or sleepy so much as it is problems with memory and problem-solving. Interestingly, it happens after surgery, no matter what type of anesthesia is used. It seems that the stress of the injury, the surgery and the recovery is sometimes overwhelming for the body. Older people with hip fractures often see a significant decline in physical and mental functioning as well, for reasons that aren't entirely clear.

It is possible that pain medications could keep her very sleepy as well.

Also, I'm sure that they have examined her by now for signs of stroke or other complication.

Obviously, I can make general guesses about situations like this and cannot begin to diagnose your aunt. (my disclaimer).

I hope she gets better and is improving day by day.

Gary 4 years ago

Continued: Have you ever heard of a patient not waking up after hip surgery? The doctors say it happens sometimes but should be ok in a few days -but is has been over 2 weeks now.

GARY 4 years ago

My Aunt is an active 97 year old who owns her own business and fell 2 weeks ago while working and broke her hip. She had surgery which included an epidural on 2/1/12 but she can not wake up -last couple of days she opens her eyes and responds to us or nods her head yes or no -but then goes back to sleep -cant talk or eat

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi chrissie- Any and all of the narcotic pain medications can have itching as a side effect. If it's really bad, benedryl can help (be careful of over-sedation with the pain meds) or you can ask the doc to switch your medicine.

There are other potential causes as well so be sure to ask your doctor if this doesn't stop soon.

Feel better :)

Chrissie 4 years ago

I had a tonsillectomy yesterday, and since I've got home I have been itching from head to foot. Trust me to have a curious side effect :)

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

It's possible that the nerve roots on that side were irritated by the catheter or the medicine flowing into the epidural space. This can happen. Sometimes, the nerve can also be irritated because of your position during labor. The side that is more numb is harder to feel so when you pull your legs up to push, you can't tell that the nerve (obturator nerve supplies the front of the thigh) is being stretched and it can be injured.

We even see sometimes what is called a 'foot drop' because of injury to this nerve.

In either case, the irritation is usually temporary. BUT, you should definitely call your ob/gyn or the labor department and let them know you are experiencing this. Sometimes, they want you to come in to get checked and sometimes (often), they will make note of it and tell you to report back in a couple days or a week and let them know if it is getting better.

I hope you feel better soon!! Remember that without being able to do a full history and exam, this does not constitute medical diagnosis or advice. Call your doc.

Ivory 4 years ago

i recently gave birth 2 weeks ago.... i had my first epidural... the anastesiologist had to insert the needle twice... the numbness took effect immediately... however i still had alittle feeling on my left side.... the right was completely numb... i couldnt move my leg on my own.... i now have feelings in my legs but i have a burning sensation on my upper right thigh... constantly... almost like an (indian burn)... do u know wht this is... could it be nerve damage?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

see response below in Common Anesthesia Side Effects...

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

@a24- Sounds like the tube scratched or cut your throat on the way in or out. Usually this only happens if it is more difficult to intubate than usual for some reason, but can also happen in a small mouth or one with different angles (high arched palate, etc). When intubating, it can be crowded with the special light in the mouth and then trying to pass the tube through also. This is an unfortunate complication, although not one that is too uncommon.

The other thing is that during nasal surgery, sometimes the tube has to be moved from side to side or angled differently to allow the surgeon access to the nose. Usually, this would cause irritation, but not cuts, though as there are no 'edges' to scratch the throat.

The lining of the back of the throat is thin and therefore, easily damaged. It is also quite sensitive, so even without having a cut there it would feel pretty raw. With the cut, I'm sure it is QUITE painful. A lot of hospitals and surgery centers will make a check up phone call from a nurse or someone at the hospital to see how you are doing. Tell them then and ask if they want you to do anything else. Also, when you have your follow up appointment with your surgeon (ENT, I would guess), have him or her look at your throat and make sure there is no sign of infection. Also, call them right away if the pain is getting worse instead of better. In any case, make sure they know about this.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

@wakatsuki- Sounds like you have a strong parasympathetic nervous system (sweating, low heart rate). Sweating dissipates heat and causes your body temperature to drop. We do see people sweating profusely sometimes, although not often, when they wake from anesthesia. Young healthy males often have a strong parasympathetic system - do you also get woozy when they draw blood or put in your IV? That's another sign. The rapid eye movement might have been nystagmus, which can be a side effect of a couple of the medications.

Anyway, it would be really, really hard to know what kind of reaction you had or to what without reviewing your whole record. Please do call your doc and ask if they have any idea if you are still concerned. Hope you are better.

a24karotheart07 4 years ago

I just had surgery & I woke up with an extremely sore throat which they told me was common due to irritation from the tube. But the pain was worse than my nose the surgery was on my nose. When I got home I looked at my throat in the mirror with a flashlight and at the back of my mouth next to my throat opening there is a pretty large cut with deep purple bruises around it. I've put salt water which has helped some but swallowing and talk are very painful. What's the reason for a cut there and should I alert my Dr to it.

wakatsuki 4 years ago

After my surgery I started sweating to where i was drenched, my temperature dropped to 95 and the nurses said that my eyes were moving rapidly plus i was slow to wake up and lethargic according to them. what could be the cause? I'm a 23 year old male with no existing problems

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

HI there Boston Bean. Sorry it took me so long to get to this. I hope you are already starting to feel better. The muscle pain is likely from medication we use to help your muscles relax for the surgery and to get the breathing tube in. We will have a lot of people tell us that for a day or two after their surgery, they thought they were getting the flu because of the sore throat and muscle aches. This will be worse if there is some reason that it was harder than usual to get the breathing tube in.

Having said that, there are some other reasons that you can have muscle pain. If it is not getting better, call back the number you should have been given when you were discharged and let them know. Make note of any other bothersome symptoms (like fever). Don't forget to take deep breaths, even if your belly muscles hurt to avoid getting pneumonia or little areas of collapsed lung.

Hope you are better soon!

Boston Bean 4 years ago

Hi. I had arthroscopic knee surgery with general anesthesia on Wednesday, arrived home that evening, and made it upstairs to bed and bathroom. It's now about 40 hours post-surgery. I've been mainly resting in bed and taking two hydrocodone-acetominophen 5-325 tabs every four hours when awake. My knee pain isn't too bad, but I'm having awful pain in my stomach muscles and upper arms, some muscle pain in my thighs, and a lot of discomfort from the intubation. The muscle pains and stiffness and pain in my tonsil area are getting worse, so that I can hardly move to get out of bed. Is this from the anestesia or hydrocodone, and what can I do about it? Is it going to continue to get worse?

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

To answer both of the above: I don't think we fully know how the medications we use affect the brain. I don't know of any lasting effects of anesthesia that would cause crying (are you feeling sad, depressed, blue, etc?). It is known that people do have some changes in mentation after surgery. When studies were done testing people for this, it was generally seen in patients over 70 years old, or those who had cognitive deficits to start with. Interestingly, the studies show that it might be more, at least as much, an effect of the stress of surgery on the body as the anesthetic medications.

So, I haven't heard of these types of things happening, but leave open the possibility that they are related to surgery or anesthesia. Can't really conclude that based on current understanding, though.

Turtle 4 years ago


I had surgery on my foot one monthe ago. Full anesthetic sedation. Since, I have been feeling scatter-brained, forgetful, and discombobulated. Is this at all normal? (It's been a month!)I am a female, age 57. I was being treated (on antibiotics) for bronchitus at the time I was sedated - making me wonder if that isn't a partial factor. This just feels very strange. One example, last night I folded and put away all of the laundry piled on my bed .... only to realize this morning that I had folded and put away all of my DIRTY LAUNDRY! Now isn't THAT weird!??? LOL And this is only ONE example! Have other people had this kind of side affect? And how long might it last? I return to work tomorrow and I'm hoping that this doesn't continue much longer. Is this NORMAL?

lis606 4 years ago


Thank you for gettin back to me so quick. I will definatley ring my doctor on Monday to see what he thinks. I guess I was hoping that this daily crying was just a side affect of anesthetic.

Thank you for your help

Lis606 :)

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Mgitzen,

If the numbness on the left side is new and your docs don't know about it, go to the ER immediately. If the doctors are following this, tell them this is ongoing and ask if you should see a neurologist or have an MRI or CT scan to figure out if there is some scar or something pushing on a nerve or some other explanation. The best chance to have this resolve is to figure out why this is happening ASAP. The longer you wait, the less likely to get resolution (depending on the cause).

If it's just the skin of the neck that is numb or is pretty limited, that might be somewhat normal or not unusual after this surgery. But, if your whole left side is numb, you need to get another opinion as to why this is occurring.

Good luck!

Mgitzen 4 years ago

I had cervical neck fusion surgery. 2 disc fused. This was 4 weeks ago, my left side from the neck down is partially numb. Will this go away.

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Lis606. This sounds like it is more likely to be related to surgery since they worked in/on the head and face areas. There may be some pressure or inflammation. You should call your doc or the doc on call to find out what they recommend. Issues related to surgery would have to be ruled out first before other causes are sought. I have not heard of your specific symptoms being related to anesthesia, though.

I hope you feel better soon!

lis606 4 years ago


11 days ago I had a general anesthetic and had septoplasty and turbinate reduction, all went well with the operation but since then I feel Like I have the worst head cold in the world and my ears can't stand much noise....please can you tell me if this is a normal after effect ? Also I have had a few tears every day since but I dont know why...has anyone else felt like this ?

Thanks lis606

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi KAC-RN. First, do call the dentist's office if this is still going on. This is not a typical side effect of most anesthesia medicines. Do you know what type of anesthesia he got? This type of reaction can happen with ketamine, but usually more so in adults than children. How old is your son?

The anesthesia gases typically don't produce this type of hallucination or delusions in the absence of dementia or brain disease BUT sometimes (very rarely), they or the narcotic pain medicines can do this. I'm guessing you weren't warned because it is sufficiently rare as a side effect.

I would hope though, that if this was occuring before you left the office, that they would have kept him and made sure he was ok before sending you home, if you asked them to do so.

Did he get a dose of pain medicine before he got up? We see this rarely with the strong narcotic pain meds. Sometimes one type will cause some hallucinations, but another type will not in an individual. If so, you may want to check to see what was prescribed for him. If it's the same medicine as he got there, you may want to report this effect and ask them to change his script to something else.

Good luck and I'm sorry for what sounds like a distressing and scary event for both of you!

KAC-RN 4 years ago

This has been a long day. Excuse my spelling/grammer. (Hallucinations)

KAC-RN 4 years ago

My son had all 4 wisdom teeth removed today and received anesthesia. I was thinking that when he awaken from recovery he would just want to go home and go back to sleep. Well first of all when he awaken in recovery he seemed fine. Then when the Nurse got ready to d/c him became upset saying that the dentist and CIA had taken his tongue. On the ride home he wanted to jump out of the car, he was seeing space ships, etc...He was delusional and having hallications. This really freaked me out. He had a hard time getting him to lie down and rest. Why wasn't I warned prior to leaving he office that this could be a side effect?

Angela 4 years ago

Hello, great site! I had my Gallbladder removed this morning. It's been almost 8 hrs since I left and most all is well. My only question is my joints and muscles feel tingly at times. Side effect? Thank you

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TahoeDoc 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi there. It seems several people are curious about effects remote from surgery. It seems unlikely, and our current knowledge indicates that, anesthesia effects should not last beyond a day or two after surgery (with maybe the exception of post-op cognitive dysfunction-see above).

We don't know everything there is to know about anesthesia, however. Effects are more likely to last or be noticeable if related to previous health conditions. For example, people with memory problems may have worse problems with memory after anesthesia. If there are blockages in the arteries to the brain, then it's possible that part of the brain didn't get enough circulation or oxygen for a period of time.

Lasting effects can also be related to the surgery itself. If you had abdominal surgery, you might be more likely to have issues with nausea than if you had your knee operated on. Pain medications can cause both balance problems and nausea as you all have asked about.

After thyroidectomy, I would make sure you are following up with your doctor and getting all recommended blood tests. If your thyroid levels are still adjusting, it can make you light-headed. Also, calcium levels can be abnormal after thyroid surgery and that can affect muscle coordination. These are just examples and obviously, are not meant to diagnose or suppose what is happening in any individual case. You need to talk to your doctors about these concerns so they can do a proper history and physical.

I hope this helped a little and that you all get to feeling 'back to normal' soon!

Mgitzen 4 years ago

Is it normal to get sick 2 1/2 weeks after surgery, nauseated all the time

Stefania 4 years ago

is it possible to light looses of balance after a thyroidectomy, due the anestesia? even there are three months from the surgery?

Elizabeth 4 years ago

Awesome information! I just had surgery and all went well. But I'm very curious as to why I cry when I wake up. I knew it was normal but it feels strange not being able to stop crying over nothing. I hope more research is done. I would love to know more as to why this happens at the physiological level.

Monique 5 years ago

I'm 32 and last year had my hip replaced. I remember that for the first four to five days I was so weepy afterwards. I wasn't sad or in pain, just very emotional. It was funny and I kept apologizing because I didn't want the rehab staff to think I was a cry baby . I also noticed I had a breakout on my face. I think it was the anesthesia and pain drugs coming out of the system.

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Thank you both. Texagirlfw- Being tired a few months out seems more likely to be from the surgical stress and energy used by the body to heal. It's unlikely but not impossible that anesthesia contributes to that in the long term.

Hope you are feeling better now. :)

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crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Excellent hub,Very educative and informative.I really feel for people who undergo such unbearable situation,but I believe they will survive by His Grace.I so much loved this hub.I enjoyed it.

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texasgirlfw 5 years ago

I don't know if this is unusual but I also found that it took months for no longer get tired in the middle of the day.

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Cantongirl, The stresses of surgery and general anesthetics affect the whole body. The stress response does 'stun' hair follicles. In addition, the body spends its resources 'healing' and non-essential functions get less attention for a while. There are also likely some effects from the anesthesia medications themselves. So, yes, your surgery and anesthesia can contribute to temporary hair loss. It shouldn't last long though, so is temporary and reversible. Oh, one more thing. If your fusion was approached from the front of the neck, your head was in one position for a while. This can cause hair loss from the spot where the pressure was greatest on your head, so if you notice it more from one spot, this contributes as well.

cantongirl 5 years ago

i recently had surgery; curvical fusion and i have noticed alot of hair on my clothing and when i shampoo my hair it just keeps falling out. is this normal after anesthesia?

jasper420 5 years ago

very intersting very well put togeather and well written hub informative and entertaing thanks

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Good Carol. I think you should continue to improve. Too bad it took so long, huh? Dehydration is a big problem during/after surgery too and can contribute to nausea and headaches. Rest when you can and keep up the fluids. Let me know if you have other questions or issues that I can help you with. :)

Carol 5 years ago

Feeling so much better-now 16 days post surgery. Took a full 12 days for the headaches/nausea to subside. Still have a little cognitive stuff going on, but much better. Thanks so much!

Carol 5 years ago

Thanks so much Doc for your comments. Have been off of the narcotic stuff for 6 days now. I will use your remarks as a handy reference. Sore throat much better but still have a headache and a little nauseated feeling. Really appreciate your remarks! Take care.. :)

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Carol. I hope you check back here and I hope you are already feeling better.

*The sore throat/dry mouth should clear up in another couple days. It's a common side effect that usually goes away in a couple days, but can last over a week. If it's very severe or isn't better in another day or two, let your doctor know. It would be VERY rare, but occasionally a structure in the back of the throat can have a significant scratch or blister or other probelm from the tube.

*Hard time waking up is also a common complaint. It has a lot to do with an individuals metabolism, how much/how long and what kind of anesthesia drugs are used.

*The confusion/'hung over' feeling can be a couple things. First, if you are taking pain medicine, then the pain meds kind of take over where the anesthesia leaves off, making it feel like the anesthesia never went away. The side effects are very similar (I can't take narcotic pain meds because of headaches/nausea and confusion).

If you are not taking pain meds, there is a phenomomenon called "post-operative cognitive dysfunction"-POCD, which we are just starting to be able to define and are far from understanding. I will eventually write a whole article about this.

Basically, POCD results in mental confusion/slowness for some time period following anesthesia. The people most likely to experience this are those of advanced age - over about 70 or 72 and those of low educational status (you don't have either risk factor), but it can still happen. Interestingly, this seems to occur even with other types of anesthesia (not just general) like epidurals and spinals, so researchers are wondering if it has more to do with the body's reaction to surgical stress and healing than it does to anesthesia (which was always the presumption). Also interesting is that this has been reported even in very young, healthy adults, although not as often, and not as noticeably, so age is not the only factor at work. There is nothing of significance that the doctors can do to prevent this and it is unpredictable in occurence, making it very frustrating for everyone.

The good news is that it generally resolves within one to three weeks. If you are taking pain meds (narcotic), then it should clear up shortly after you stop taking those.

Good luck and hope to hear of improvement soon :)

Carol 5 years ago

had surgery almost a week ago and still feel kind of hung over-trouble thinking of words, slight headache-it was ankle surgery-20 min. procedure but put me out for 85 min. (told me "prep work") Remember absolutely nothing until in recovery where I stayed for 90 min. Had a hard time waking up and extremely dry mouth and sore throat. I'm a 62 year old lady and very healthy-

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melpor 5 years ago from New Jersey, USA

TahoeDoc, another informative hub. I enjoyed reading this one. I had a colonoscopy procedure performed about a week ago and I went to sleep and woke up without any problem.

Franca 5 years ago

Doc, thank you very much for taking the time to give me such a thorough response. I really appreciate it!

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

The most important thing to do is to tell your anesthesiologist about your fears and needs. Better yet, ask the dentist to talk to him/her ahead of time. There are lots of preventative measures you and they can take. Don't eat or drink for 8 hours before your surgery- or after midnight. Sometimes you are allowed water up to 2 hours before. Follow these instructions. Scopolamine (motion sickness) patches can be prescribed and left on for 3 days. Be careful as they can make you feel 'rebound' nausea when you take them off.

In addition, there are medications, such as metoclopramide, ondansetron and decadron and others that can be given in your IV. Your anesthesiologist will have to review your history to decide which or which combo can be used safely for you.

Go slow with eating/drinking after (you'll have to anyway given the nature of the work). Use the relief bands, too if you want to try everything. They do seem to help some people.

This is going to be hard for you, but practice relaxation techniques. When you find yourself getting worked up, try to identify that you are getting anxious, and work on deep breathing or meditation. Anxiety creates nausea- no doubt in my mind from experience.

I would say 8 or 9 of 10 people respond well to prevention, so know that just by telling them, you are on your way to doing well.

Good luck and come back if you have any other questions.

Franca 5 years ago

I have emetophobia (severe debilitating fear of vomiting) due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I'm having dental surgery soon -- a whole mouth reconstruction with dental implants. Because of the PTSD my dentist doesn't think IV sedation will be enough so he's brining in an anesthesiologist. My biggest fear is PONV. So my question is this, what is the best way to prevent nausea and vomiting after this type of oral surgery? Thank you.

marianne r. 5 years ago

Well done Doc!

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s.carver 5 years ago from San Francisco

That's so interesting. I think I was about 18 at the time, so that fits.

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

That's so funny you mention that. I was reminded last week (by it happening) that I needed to add to this hub that young women often wake up crying and young guys sometimes wake up combative (with some cross-overs). It is fairly common too, just not as 'researched'. I will add a section in the next few days if I don't forget again. Thanks for the reminder!

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s.carver 5 years ago from San Francisco

Great hub! But I didn't find mention of the greatest (only) side effect I remember from when I got my wisdom teeth out 20-odd years ago: I recall waking up from the anesthesia absolutely sobbing. I turned to the nurse and blubbered through my tears, "Why am I crying? I'm not even sad!" She assured me this was a common enough side effect, but I still remember (kind of fondly!) the strangeness of my mind and body being so out of sync.

kims3003 5 years ago

Excellent subject choice for a hub - nicely written - pleasant writing style.

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

I would have to know more about the surgery - type, length, etc. Preexisting med condtions, medications, allergies, history of the types of reactions, where the pain occurred, and so on would also be important.

There are rare problems that would result from (general) anesthesia that could cause pain and keep you in the hospital for a week. Most prominently, malignant hyperthermia could cause this but is also associated with high fevers and organ failure. If you had had this reaction, you would have had muscle biopsies to confirm it and would be advised to wear a medic alert bracelet.

kelly shi 5 years ago

I am having surgery soon, and have other surgeries. After some of those surgeries I had such pain that was not related to the type of surgery done but possibly the anastesia,has anyone ever experienced that,, I wound up staying in the hospital for at least a week to recover

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

AltPrime,Pamela, teamRN, Jamie & anyone I missed Your comments mean a lot- thank you all so much! Yikes, Jamie- 14 hours surgery? I've been in on those. It's absolutely amazing what the human body can tolerate and overcome. Glad you got through it ok.

Here's another contest with some really good reads (yes, this one was nominated for that too) - I'm really honored, but you should take a look at all of them, they are really good hubs.

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Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

Congratulations on being the hubnugget winner!!! What a great hub. Reading this really brought back memories of my jaw surgery in 1988. It was a 14 hour surgery and after I woke up I threw up somehow, I guess through my nose because my jaws were wired shut. Talk about scary! I also had a huge blister bigger than a half dollar on the heal of my foot from the pressure of just laying there that long and talk about dry lips.. my lips were so dry from being jacked open that long that they were a bloody, peeling mess for weeks BUT it was truly all worth it! I think you've given me an idea for my next hub :0)

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teamrn 5 years ago from Chicago

TahoeDoc, I can't say it was your greatest post; BECAUSE I'VE ONLY BEEN HUBBING A FEW DAYS! But your piece was so informative with just the right mix of interpretation of 'doctor-speak' and science without talking down to anyone. Just downright good information! I will say that your is a must read for anyone about to undergo any kind of surgery. Kudos! Annie

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Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

This is a very thorough hub on the effects of anesthesia. I think this will be a helpful hub to many people. Thanks for all the information.

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Good Kim! It is normal to have some "waking" during twilight anesthesia and I'm glad you were able to work with them to get more medicine when you wanted or needed it. Sometimes, I let my patients who are not under general anesthesia get a little "lighter" on purpose so I can have them take some deep breaths or adjust their position a little bit to make sure they are still comfy.

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kimh039 5 years ago

fyi: all went well on friday, thanks. i told them about my wake up last time, and they apparently had to work really hard and use some strong drugs to keep me asleep this time. Still, I awoke a couple times, but the team was very responsive. it was twilight sedation. they didn't want to do a full sedation because of the risks. congrats on the nomination and thanks again.

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Thanks all and awesome about the nomination! Thanks!!

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Alternative Prime 5 years ago from > California

Great Hub & Congrats on your Nomination,

Just about everything a person would need to prepare for the experience associated with many medical procedures is listed here.

Excellent educational piece giving a "Heads Up" to patients.

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ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

If you have to undergo surgery or any type of medical procedure, it is better to be armed with information so you will not panic and you know what to do. Thank you for this helpful tips. :)

Hubnuggets Flash: This hub is a Hubnuggets nominee. We invite everyone to please read the nominated hubs and vote! You have the right to vote...hubbers and non hubbers alike! So what are you waiting for? Follow me right here:

Also, participate in the Hubnuggets forum: See ya!

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hmmm, usually not, but can't tell without more info. If there is damage to the vocal cords (and this would be rare, depending on circumstances like difficulty inserting the breathing tube, type of surgery, etc), it is worst in the first week and gets better. If you want to send me more info, let me know and I can try to help you figure out what's going on.

Susan 5 years ago

I am trying to find out if a breathing tube is used, can the vocal chords slowly quit working ( 2 1/2 months later)?

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Jillian- You don't know how much appreciation like that means. I get so tired of hearing all the negative things that people think about docs. It makes me get all smiley and teary to know that someone realizes we really do try hard sometimes AND care!

Rasta- Hope everything worked out ok. It's amazing how resilient the human body is, isn't it? Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hopefully, you won't need it Manna, LOL.

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Manna in the wild 5 years ago from Australia

I'll be bookmarking this one just in case!

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Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA

Once again, you have given much needed information in an easy to understand way. The most recent surgery I had lasted 7 1/2 hours and because of the efforts of the anesthesiologist and the aggressive post-op care that he directed and I received, I did not develop pneumonia. Prior to that surgery, post-op pneumonia was the norm for me and minus pneumonia, my recovery went extremely well.

Again, the anesthesiologist makes all the difference in any surgery!

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Rastamermaid 5 years ago from Universe

Excellent hub,very informative.

Unfortunately I've had surgery much later in life and was horrified at the thought of being put to sleep and not waking up.

I've since have had several including a c-section to deliver my son.

Thanks for sharing such great info!

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TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

I know, my post-anesthesia sleeps were glorious! No pagers, no baby monitors, no alarms and drugs that made it hard to fight sleep, LOL. Plus your body needs time to metabolize the drugs and sleep is needed for healing. I tell patients that too, don't try to fight too hard to "get awake". Once we know they are conscious, it's all good- go back to sleep :) Sleep is good.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

One anesthesiologist I had gave me some very good advice once. If you still feel sleepy afterward, then keep on sleeping until it wears off. Don't fight drowsiness! I tried it and it was the best sleep I ever had.

TahoeDoc profile image

TahoeDoc 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California Author

Hi Kim. I wrote a hub about Anesthesia Awareness or Intraoperative Awareness, too. It's listed above.

Sometimes, it's normal to remember parts of a procedure. It depends on the procedure, the type of anesthesia and the point at which you wake up. Many people wake (and it's normal) while the bandages are being applied and believe they are still having their surgery. Colonoscopies and other similar procedures are done with sedation. It is perfectly acceptable and in some cases, expected, to remember bits and pieces of those procedures.

True intraoperative awareness under anesthesia does happen, but is much more rare. You should let the docs know if this is what happened to you. Please let me know if you have any questions - either here or by message.

Good luck!

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

Interesting. I'll be having anesthesia this friday, so this was very timely. I don't recall any after effects from last year when I had the same procedure. I do remember waking up during the procedure and feeling the procedure for awhile.

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