Top of the page
General anesthesia is medicine that causes you to become unconscious. The medicine can be inhaled or given through a needle in a vein. It affects the whole body.
It keeps you from feeling pain during a procedure. It's used for procedures such as open heart surgery and gallbladder removal. Sometimes it's used for caesarean sections.
It slows down many of your body's normal functions. For example, you may need help to breathe. An anesthesia professional will watch you very closely. They'll make sure you stay safe and comfortable.
General anesthesia is safe for most people. But some things can increase your risk of problems. These include smoking, obesity, and sleep apnea.
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 or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine & John M. Freedman MD - Anesthesiology & Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.