Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How long does it take for general anesthesia to wear off?"
Having surgery on my back in 3 days and want to know how long it takes before general anesthesia wears off. I have a kid and need to be with him later in the day, surgery is in the morning. How much time will the anesthesia last?
Having surgery with general anesthesia can be a very intimidating experience. You should feel free to address all of your questions and concerns with your surgeon as well as with your anesthesiologist who you will meet the morning of surgery. The anesthesia team is responsible for putting you to sleep, keeping you safe during surgery, and waking you up when the surgery is over. In general, the amount of time it takes to wake up after anesthesia depends both on the individual (everyone metabolizes drugs slightly differently) as well as the type of anesthesia used. Different types of surgeries require different kinds of surgical interventions, and deciding which agents to use is part of the decision-making process of the anesthesiologist. However, even if you are 'awake' following your surgery, you will still need to be monitored closely for several hours in the post-surgical recovering room as all of the effects of general anesthesia can take several hours to wear off. You should make sure that you clarify with your surgeon that you will be able to leave the hospital that same afternoon--in most cases involving general anesthesia, a patient will spend at least one night in the hospital for monitoring. Even if your surgery is scheduled as a 'same-day' procedure, it is important to remember that you will have to take it easy for several days and you almost certainly will not be up to your regular childcare routine that same afternoon.
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