Preparing for Anesthesia & What to Expect

Many people just can’t fall asleep before a big event that they are anxious about. So you might toss and turn all night before a surgery, but once the moment arrives, anesthesia will put you into a nice, deep, easy sleep while the surgeon works on fixing you up. There are a few things you need to know about anesthesia so you can be prepared.Male patient and MD


  • Answer all questions regarding your health, habits, and diets honestly so the correct anesthesia can be selected.
  • Have an accurate record of any allergies or experiences with high blood pressure.
  • Provide your doctor or nurse with an accurate list of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications including dosage and frequency.
  • Get information about your procedure from your medical team to help ease anxiety.
  • In most cases you are not able to eat for 6 hours prior to the anesthesia. You may usually drink clear liquids such as water, tea, black coffee, or clear sodas for up to 2 hours before surgery.
  • Consult with your doctor about which medications you can and cannot take before the surgery.
  • Read your informed consent form carefully to learn the benefits and risks of your procedure and the anesthesia. Children and those who are mentally incompetent will need a legal guardian’s consent.
  • Try various relaxation and meditation activities to relieve anxiety before surgery.
  • You may be given medication right before the anesthesia to: relieve anxiety, prevent pain, reduce secretions, reduce stomach fluids or nausea, or control body functions.
  • You may see instruments that measure your breathing, blood pressure, and heart function being set up before you undergo anesthesia.
  • Your body functions will be carefully monitored during anesthesia. A nurse will make adjustments as necessary.
  • If children will receive anesthesia, help them get prepared by explaining what will happen, bringing a favorite toy, and touring the facility.
  • It is a great idea to stop smoking before surgery and anesthesia.


  • After you have been given the anesthesia, your body will be positioned so the surgeon can access the necessary area for surgery.
  • If you have local or regional anesthesia that only numbs a certain part of your body, you may be aware of what is going on but may be given other medication to make you drowsy and reduce anxiety.
  • During the surgery you should have very limited knowledge if any, of what is happening. Your anesthesiologist will monitor all vital signs and adjust medication as necessary to keep you safe and comfortable.
  • Emergence from anesthesia begins when the surgery is over and you are not administered any more medication. It can take 1 to 2 hours for some types to wear off while others can take longer.
  • Your vital signs will continue to be monitored.
  • In some situations, you may be given medication to speed up the process of emerging from anesthesia.
  • As you wake up, you are likely to feel numbness and reduced sensation. You may also feel nauseous or less alert than usual.


  • Don’t drive a car or operate any other vehicle or heavy equipment for at least 24 hours after anesthesia.
  • Don’t take any un-prescribed medications or drink alcohol for at least 24 hours.
  • Arrange for a ride home by a responsible adult and have someone around at home to help you
  • Get plenty of rest and take food and liquids slowly.
  • Don’t make any important decisions or sign legal documents for at least 24 hours.

If you need to have surgery at Regional Medical Center, you’ll get the best of care. Regional is a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery and for Knee and Hip Replacement. The Anesthesiology department at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point will help you get through your surgery comfortably and painlessly.

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