Will I Wake Up During Surgery?

How To Answer Common Patient Questions


I've had multiple patients tell me that they had "waken up" during a previous surgery. What most likely happened was that they remember or have a faint memory of extubation or just prior to being put asleep. Reassure your patient that this is extremely unlikely and if necessary, allow them to speak with the anesthesiologist again or the CRNA for more answers.

̶ D.M., RN 15 Years

perioperative nuse

There are mulitple ways that anesthesia providers ensure that the patient is unawareand not feeling the surgery. IV medications, inhaled gases, monitoring vital signs and sometimes intraoperative neuromonitoring. Educating the patient can really ease their mind and calm their fears.

̶ R.Y., RN 22 Years

surgery nurse

When patients ask this questions, it's important not to discount their fears or make them feel like we are laughing at them. Some people have never had surgery or have very little experience with medical related issues. They see what happens on television and it scares them. Calm reassurance that the chances of that happening are slim to none and referring them to the anesthesia provider is the best route to take.

̶ H.S., RN 17 Years

surgery operating room

We know that most likely the patients will do just fine, but there is a small percentage of people that experience "anesthesia awareness", so we can never say that it won't happen. We can comfort the patient by making sure that they know how rare that is, and that they would not feel any pain. It is usually an awareness of surroundings for a short period of time. It is not the same as having vague memories during conscious sedation or before and after the procedure.

̶ B.K., RN 28 Years