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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is there a chance of feeling pain under sedation?

    Related Topic
    I am getting a cyst cut from my cheeck. I have seen mainly positive reports that patients didn't feel anything but a few have said they felt the pain and couldn't tell anyone because of the sedation? Is this common or possible, it's got me really scared.
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    Dr Jillian Tomlinson

    Hand Surgeon, Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Dr Jill Tomlinson is a fully qualified plastic, reconstructive and hand surgeon. After graduating dux in her year at University High School, Jill completed medical … View Profile

    Thank you for your question.

    Sedation is tailored for the individual patient and the doctor who administers your sedation is the best person to tell you what will happen and to make sure that you are comfortable. I can reassure you that it is not common to feel pain under anaesthesia.

    Instances where patients report feeling pain but being unable to tell people are usually instances where the person has been given a muscle relaxant medication that prevents them from moving. These medications are not given with sedation anaesthesia.

    Modern anaesthesia is very safe and sedation is a great way to minimise anxiety and discomfort around the time of surgery. There are different medications used in sedation and different levels of sedation - if you are given high doses of a powerful sedative medication you may be unable to remember anything, whereas if you are given a small amount of a weak sedative medication you will be able to speak to the people around you and will be aware of and remember your surroundings. Sedative medications also last for different lengths of time - some last for a matter of seconds and some for a matter of hours.

    My patients are very positive about the experience they have with sedation and find it a great alternative to general anaesthetic. I hope this answer has informed and reassured you - and if you are still worried please speak to your doctor.

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