Sedation for a Medical Procedure: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

For a minor procedure or surgery, you will get a sedative to help you relax. This drug will make you sleepy. It is usually given in a vein (by IV). It may be used with anesthesia.

There are different types of anesthesia. You and your doctor or anesthesia specialist will work together to choose the best anesthesia for you. It is usually based on your health, the procedure, and your preference.

  • Local anesthesia is a shot given to numb a small part of the body.
  • Regional anesthesia is a shot that blocks pain to a larger area of the body.
  • General anesthesia affects the brain and the whole body. You get it through a small tube placed in a vein (IV). Or you may breathe it in. You are unconscious and will not feel pain.

You may get monitored anesthesia care (MAC). This means that an anesthesia specialist will care for you during your surgery. He or she will make sure that you get only the level of anesthesia care you need to prevent pain for your specific case.

If you had anesthesia, you may feel some pain and discomfort as it wears off. If you have pain, don't be afraid to say so. Pain medicine works better if you take it before the pain gets bad.

Common side effects from sedation include:

  • Feeling sleepy. (Your doctors and nurses will make sure you are not too sleepy to go home.)
  • Nausea and vomiting. This usually does not last long.
  • Feeling tired.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

 
  • Don't do anything for 24 hours that requires attention to detail. This includes going to work or school, making important decisions, and signing any legal documents. It takes time for the medicine effects to completely wear off.
  • For your safety, you should not drive or operate any machinery that could be dangerous until the medicine wears off and you can think clearly and react easily.
  • When you get home, it is important to rest until the anesthesia has worn off. Some people will feel drowsy or dizzy for up to a few hours after leaving the hospital.
  • Take your time and walk slowly. Sudden changes in position may also cause nausea.
  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.

Diet

 
  • You can eat your normal diet, unless your doctor gives you other instructions. If your stomach is upset, try clear liquids and bland, low-fat foods like plain toast or rice.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).
  • Don't drink alcohol for 24 hours.

Medicines

 
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are taking opioids for pain, it is very important to take them as prescribed. Opioids can easily be misused. Misuse can lead to opioid use disorder and even death. Because of this, it is best to get off them as soon as possible. As soon as you don't need them, talk to your doctor about how to safely stop taking them. Also talk with your doctor about how to safely store and get rid of opioids.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach, you can try these things.
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have ongoing or worsening nausea or vomiting.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have a new or worse headache.
  • The medicine is not wearing off and you can't think clearly.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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