Ten Things Patients Should Know

  1. It is rare. Less than one in 1,000 surgeries and decreasing. When it does occur, it is often fleeting and not traumatic.
  2. Those experiencing awareness usually don't feel pain. Some may feel pressure.
  3. Awareness can range from brief, hazy recall to specific awareness. Dreams or perception of surroundings does not necessarily represent awareness.
  4. Awareness can occur in high-risk surgeries in which the patient's condition may not allow for a deep anesthetic.
  5. Early counseling after awareness can lessen feelings of confusion or trauma.
  6. Anesthesiologists are actively studying the most effective ways to prevent it.
  7. Research has dramatically improved safety and comfort the last 20 years.
  8. New brain-wave monitoring devices being tested may reduce awareness.
  9. A highly trained anesthesia professional should be involved in your surgery.
  10. Patients should raise concerns with their anesthesia professional before surgery.