Skip To Content
  • OMG badge

Here’s What Actually Happens When You Wake Up During Surgery

Let’s talk about the bizarre thing that can happen on the operating table.

1. It's a clinical phenomenon called anesthetic awareness.

2. One to two people out of 1,000 wake up during surgery each year in the United States.

3. It happens when general anesthesia fails.

4. And it's not the same as conscious sedation.

5. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't usually happen right in the middle of surgery.

6. Patients often report hearing sounds and voices.

7. Few patients experience pressure (and rarely pain) during anesthetic awareness.

8. Anesthetic awareness can cause anxiety and PTSD.

9. It's most often caused by an equipment malfunction.

10. Less commonly, it's the physician or anesthesiologist's fault.

11. It is more likely to happen during surgeries that require "light" anesthesia.

12. ...But if that's the case, your doctor will talk to you about it first.

13. ALL THAT BEING SAID, the chances of this happening are slim, and medical professionals are doing everything they can to ensure that this does not happen.