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Sedation

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Sedation

Overview

Sedation is the use of medicine to help you feel relaxed and comfortable during a procedure. Sometimes it's used to help with pain.

Sedation may be used with an injection to numb the area or with other medicine to reduce pain. It's often used in procedures like a colonoscopy or a biopsy. It also can be used in many surgeries. Examples include knee surgery and hernia repair.

You may be awake and able to talk with your care team. Or you may fall asleep. You might remember little, if anything, of the procedure or surgery.

How it's done

Sedation is usually given in a vein in the arm (intravenously, or I.V.).

It is often used with local or regional anesthesia. The local type numbs a small part of the body. The regional type blocks pain to a larger area of the body.

While you are sedated, a doctor or nurse will watch you closely. They'll make sure you stay safe and comfortable. In some cases, an anesthesia professional may be there during the procedure to help keep you safe. This is often called monitored anesthesia care (MAC).

How to prepare

Your doctor will tell you what to expect when you have sedation. You'll get instructions to help you prepare. They'll include when to stop eating or drinking. If you take medicine, you'll be told what you can and can't take before sedation. You'll need to bring someone who can take you home.

What to tell your doctor

Tell the specialist about any health problems (such as sleep apnea). Also talk about any past surgeries and if a family member had problems with anesthesia. Let them know if you're pregnant or if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs. Give them a list of all medicines, vitamins, and herbal products you take.

Risks

Serious problems are rare. They include breathing that slows or stops and an allergic reaction to the medicine.

Some health issues may increase the risk of problems. These include:

  • Smoking.
  • Sleep apnea. This happens during sleep when a blocked airway causes breathing problems.
  • Being overweight.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: June 25, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
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