Anesthesia | What If I Wake Up During my Hysterectomy?

If you are worried about waking up during your hysterectomy, you should know that the chances of this happening are very slim. Unexpectedly waking up during surgery is called anesthesia awareness, or unintended intraoperative awareness. This rare complication of anesthesia occurs in less than 1% of all general anesthesia cases in the United States, and the statistic is even lower when removing high risk patients.

Anesthesia awareness under general anesthesia is more common in certain circumstances. For instance, during an emergency surgery the anesthetist may be unable to give a deep enough anesthetic due to bleeding, heart conditions, low blood pressure, pregnancy, etc. There are other medications that can be given to try to prevent awareness, but they are not always as effective as needed. Awareness may also occur during certain heart surgeries or c-sections when a lighter dose of anesthesia is used.

Awareness may occur during sedation anesthesia, but for this type of sedation it isn’t likely to cause any significant issues for the patient.

Waking up during surgery can be a very traumatic experience for the patient. If this has occurred for you in the past or you fear it may occur for you, discuss your concerns with your surgeon and anesthesiologist. Your doctor will do their best to be sure you are safe and comfortable during your hysterectomy, and sharing your fears in advance can help them take extra precautions if necessary.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: Anesthesia | What If I Wake Up During my Hysterectomy?



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