25 doctors weighed in:

How long does it take a person to regain his consciousness after being treated with total anesthesia?

25 doctors weighed in
Dr. Scott Roethle
Anesthesiology
6 doctors agree

In brief: Everyone's different

Most people regain consciousness shortly after surgery as the anesthetic "wears off", usually within 30 minutes.
Many people remain "groggy" for up to several hours after surgery, which may also mean continued amnesia; but this all may vary depending on the duration and severity of your procedure and how much additional pain medication you need after surgery.

In brief: Everyone's different

Most people regain consciousness shortly after surgery as the anesthetic "wears off", usually within 30 minutes.
Many people remain "groggy" for up to several hours after surgery, which may also mean continued amnesia; but this all may vary depending on the duration and severity of your procedure and how much additional pain medication you need after surgery.
Dr. Scott Roethle
Dr. Scott Roethle
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Dr. David Rosenfeld
Pain Management
5 doctors agree

In brief: Minutes

Several minutes.
You may still not remember much for an hour or so but you will be responsive to voice and breaking on your own in several minutes.

In brief: Minutes

Several minutes.
You may still not remember much for an hour or so but you will be responsive to voice and breaking on your own in several minutes.
Dr. David Rosenfeld
Dr. David Rosenfeld
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Dr. Boris Aronzon
Anesthesiology
4 doctors agree

In brief: Almost immidiatly

In good hands and healthy patients it should happen when surgery is done.
Variations possible due length and type of surgery, verity of drugs, metabolic functions, cardiac output and gas exchange abilities of the patient. Patient's age, weigh, temperature could contribute to the speed and quality of the recovery. Experience of anesthesia provider can influence the speed of mental recovery.

In brief: Almost immidiatly

In good hands and healthy patients it should happen when surgery is done.
Variations possible due length and type of surgery, verity of drugs, metabolic functions, cardiac output and gas exchange abilities of the patient. Patient's age, weigh, temperature could contribute to the speed and quality of the recovery. Experience of anesthesia provider can influence the speed of mental recovery.
Dr. Boris Aronzon
Dr. Boris Aronzon
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1 comment
Dr. Paul Harper
Most of my patients are awake as I am finishing my last sutures.
Dr. Seth Akst
Anesthesiology
3 doctors agree

In brief: Depends

Different medications take different amounts of time to wear off, and different people metabolize the drugs differently.
Most modern anesthetics wear off within 10 - 30 minutes after surgery. However, pain medicine you may be taking can keep you feeling "sleepy" even after the anesthetic has worn off.

In brief: Depends

Different medications take different amounts of time to wear off, and different people metabolize the drugs differently.
Most modern anesthetics wear off within 10 - 30 minutes after surgery. However, pain medicine you may be taking can keep you feeling "sleepy" even after the anesthetic has worn off.
Dr. Seth Akst
Dr. Seth Akst
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Dr. David Edsall
Anesthesiology
3 doctors agree

In brief: Total?

Total intravenous anesthesia is not often done and has a longer wakeup if the procedrue is over an hour. Most (>70%) regular general anethesia -rarely called total anesthesia- should have an out of the or time of five minutes after the surgeon is done, 10 minutes to awake, 20 minutes to allert.
Many anesthetists take much longer. They have not learned the proper techniques. They get paid by time.

In brief: Total?

Total intravenous anesthesia is not often done and has a longer wakeup if the procedrue is over an hour. Most (>70%) regular general anethesia -rarely called total anesthesia- should have an out of the or time of five minutes after the surgeon is done, 10 minutes to awake, 20 minutes to allert.
Many anesthetists take much longer. They have not learned the proper techniques. They get paid by time.
Dr. David Edsall
Dr. David Edsall
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Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology
2 doctors agree

In brief: 5 mins

Most patients wake up in recovery room and have no recall of even being in the operating room. If you have a short procedure you will wake even more quickly.
The speed at which you become clear headed can be affected by the pain medications you are taking after the procedure.

In brief: 5 mins

Most patients wake up in recovery room and have no recall of even being in the operating room. If you have a short procedure you will wake even more quickly.
The speed at which you become clear headed can be affected by the pain medications you are taking after the procedure.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Dr. Richard Pollard
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Dr. Matt Malkin
Anesthesiology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Approx 15-30 mins

A general anesthetic is like a recipe, with many different ways to accomplish goals.
The patient is awake upon exiting the or, though the ability to form memories usually requires 15-30 minutes. The types of meds, age and health of patient and length of surgery can all lengthen this time. Most recovery room stays last 1-2 hours, depending on hospital protocol and patient need.

In brief: Approx 15-30 mins

A general anesthetic is like a recipe, with many different ways to accomplish goals.
The patient is awake upon exiting the or, though the ability to form memories usually requires 15-30 minutes. The types of meds, age and health of patient and length of surgery can all lengthen this time. Most recovery room stays last 1-2 hours, depending on hospital protocol and patient need.
Dr. Matt Malkin
Dr. Matt Malkin
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Dr. Marc Bloom
Anesthesiology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: A nice nap that you don't remember

'twilight' produces calm, quiet, drowsiness, usually with amnesia.
Often pain killers are added, and sometime anti-nausea medication.

In brief: A nice nap that you don't remember

'twilight' produces calm, quiet, drowsiness, usually with amnesia.
Often pain killers are added, and sometime anti-nausea medication.
Dr. Marc Bloom
Dr. Marc Bloom
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Dr. Richard Grisoli
Anesthesiology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Lessn than 5 minutes

Lessn than 5 minutes.

In brief: Lessn than 5 minutes

Lessn than 5 minutes.
Dr. Richard Grisoli
Dr. Richard Grisoli
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Dr. Marc Bloom
Anesthesiology

In brief: An evaluation tool f

The scoring allows comparison of recovery among patients by rating their blood pressure, consciousness, skin color, breathing, and movement.

In brief: An evaluation tool f

The scoring allows comparison of recovery among patients by rating their blood pressure, consciousness, skin color, breathing, and movement.
Dr. Marc Bloom
Dr. Marc Bloom
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Dr. Marc Bloom
Anesthesiology

In brief: Everyone is different

Published doses for anesthetic drugs are averages based on a population of patients.
Any particular individual may take as much as 3 times less or 3 time more than the average dose. We adjust dosages based on many factors like weight, age, general health, blood pressure, heart disease, liver and kidney function, and other medications you may be taking. Interesting studies suggest that red-headed women need a bit more than average. In addition there are some devices that measure the brain's response to sedatives that can help guide dosing.

In brief: Everyone is different

Published doses for anesthetic drugs are averages based on a population of patients.
Any particular individual may take as much as 3 times less or 3 time more than the average dose. We adjust dosages based on many factors like weight, age, general health, blood pressure, heart disease, liver and kidney function, and other medications you may be taking. Interesting studies suggest that red-headed women need a bit more than average. In addition there are some devices that measure the brain's response to sedatives that can help guide dosing.
Dr. Marc Bloom
Dr. Marc Bloom
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Dr. Marc Bloom
Anesthesiology

In brief: If you feel it, so might the baby

Some drugs, particularly fat-soluble ones can cross into breast milk.
The longer acting the drug, the longer the possibility, but drug levels generally dissipate within a few hours. If you are still feeling the effect of the drugs, so might your baby. For an otherwise healthy baby, if you are not feeling the effects of anesthesia, your milk is safe. Beware of pain -killers in particular. These can effect the baby's breathing.

In brief: If you feel it, so might the baby

Some drugs, particularly fat-soluble ones can cross into breast milk.
The longer acting the drug, the longer the possibility, but drug levels generally dissipate within a few hours. If you are still feeling the effect of the drugs, so might your baby. For an otherwise healthy baby, if you are not feeling the effects of anesthesia, your milk is safe. Beware of pain -killers in particular. These can effect the baby's breathing.
Dr. Marc Bloom
Dr. Marc Bloom
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Dr. Marc Bloom
Anesthesiology

In brief: It depends on many factors, but usually VERY quickly

It depends on what kind of drugs you were given, the length of the procedure, how sick you were to start with, and how your pain is treated.
Modern anesthetic techniques allow us to wake patients up in about 5 minutes. Awake does not mean 'back to normal', but able to talk and follow instructions. Long-term memory and sound judgement take much longer (hours? ) to recover so we never send someone home unescorted after anesthesia.

In brief: It depends on many factors, but usually VERY quickly

It depends on what kind of drugs you were given, the length of the procedure, how sick you were to start with, and how your pain is treated.
Modern anesthetic techniques allow us to wake patients up in about 5 minutes. Awake does not mean 'back to normal', but able to talk and follow instructions. Long-term memory and sound judgement take much longer (hours? ) to recover so we never send someone home unescorted after anesthesia.
Dr. Marc Bloom
Dr. Marc Bloom
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Dr. Scott Mackinnon
Anesthesiology

In brief: This can vary

Depending on the length of procedure(how much anesthesia, extensiveness of surgery), co-existing medical conditions, age of patient, the "post op recovery time" may vary widely.
Most ambulatory of "same day" procedures take one to two hours before one can feel "wide awake".

In brief: This can vary

Depending on the length of procedure(how much anesthesia, extensiveness of surgery), co-existing medical conditions, age of patient, the "post op recovery time" may vary widely.
Most ambulatory of "same day" procedures take one to two hours before one can feel "wide awake".
Dr. Scott Mackinnon
Dr. Scott Mackinnon
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