Font Size
A
A
A

Awareness During General Anesthesia


Topic Overview

In very rare cases, a person who is given general anesthesia but is not completely unconscious may be aware of what is happening during the procedure. Awareness under general anesthesia is very rare, because anesthesia specialists devote careful attention and use many methods to prevent this.

Awareness may be recalled as an implicit memory or explicit memory. With implicit memory, information is retained but not consciously recalled. The person may display symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, including dreams, flashbacks, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. With explicit memory, the person has spontaneous recall of events that occurred during the procedure, such as sounds and sensations of paralysis or pain. Consultation with a psychiatrist or psychologist may be warranted if a person has signs or symptoms of psychological trauma from awareness during surgery.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn M. Freedman, MD - Anesthesiology
Last RevisedJanuary 28, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.





Medical Dictionary