Wellness
13 things that happen to your body when you're under anesthesia
Number 6 is going to stick with me.
Jake Manning
03.17.22

Anesthesia is absolutely fascinating.

The way that it affects your brain and body is pretty incredible. If you are interested in this complicated process, then this slideshow is for you.

Check out the 13 things that happen to you when you are under anesthesia and be sure to share it with a friend!

1. You’ll feel light and floaty

When you are administered anesthesia, you’re body and brain will go through three phases (and possibly a very rare, unfortunate fourth).

The first stage is called induction and it takes place right before you go unconscious. You may feel confused, any pain you have will go away and your body will feel light and floaty.

Red and Blue Hot Air Balloon Floating on Air on Body of Water during Night Time
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

2. Phase 2 is part you won’t remember

The next phase is called the excitement phase. However, it’s not as fun as it sounds. It takes place after the anesthesia has kicked in a bit so you won’t actually remember any part of this phase.

Your breathing and heart rate will change rapidly, your body will begin twitching, and you may become nauseous or even vomit.

Black and white of lonely melancholic male in white shirt shaking head in motion sitting against black background
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

3. The goal is a coma

For the third phase, your body enters what is known as surgical anesthesia. Some 60,000 people are put under surgical anesthesia every single day.

In this phase, you become completely unconscious and your body is essentially sent into a coma for a short period of time.

Man Lying on Bed Being Checked
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

4. Your brain won’t let you feel pain

At this point, the anesthesia has completely taken over and shut down your nervous system.

By doing this, it slows down your responses to stimuli and shuts off the part of your brain that responds to pain. Your heart rate stays steady and you won’t have any memory of the experience.

A Woman having an Operation
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

5. Your brain will be radio silent

Your brain will quiet down to the point that it won’t be able to send signals to all of the other organs in your body.

Normally, these connections and signals are being sent back and forth constantly. However, it’s this quieting of brain functions and loss of connection that allows you to lay there unaware of what the doctors are doing to your body.

Free stock photo of analysis, anatomy, brain
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

6. Paralysis is normal

Your brain isn’t the only vital part of the body that is affected by anesthesia. As the anesthesia finds its way into your bloodstream it eventually reaches the spinal cord, and when it does, you become completely paralyzed.

This sounds a little terrifying, but remember, you won’t remember any of it.

Person Lying on Bed Being Prepared for Operation
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

7. Doctors don’t actually know all the details about how it works

One of the craziest things about anesthesia is that doctors still aren’t entirely sure how it works. It can keep us unconscious, calm, and unable to remember any of the pain that our body should be registering.

Medical professionals do know what parts of the body are affected, but not why they are.

However, there are a couple of theories out there…

Person in Blue Scrub Suit Holding White Plastic Tool
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

8. Theory #1

The first theory has to do with the fat in the brain. It is theorized that anesthesia dissolves the fat in the brain cells which ultimately changes the type of brain activity that we see in patients under the influence of general anesthesia.

Person Holding Silver Round Coins
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

9. Theory #2

The second theory follows a similar line of thinking to the first. It states that the anesthesia actually binds to and incapacitates the proteins on the neurons in our brains.

These proteins are associated with sleep, memory, and attention so it’s no wonder that we get knocked out when these proteins are affected.

Person in White Long Sleeve Shirt Holding Black and White Round Wall Decor
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

10. Your body won’t be functional, but your respiratory system will

Even though your brain function is slowed, it is working enough to keep your lungs going. However, you are often set up with an oxygen mask that aids your lungs in receiving oxygen, and sometimes you’ll get a tube down your throat that feeds you oxygen as well.

Medical Equipment on an Operation Room
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

11. You’ll be closely monitored in case anything goes wrong

During your entire operation, you will be closely monitored by a nurse or doctor. Because your body is so altered, many things can happen to you while you are under. It’s possible to vomit and choke, get fluid in your lungs, or even have a stroke.

Luckily, these things are rare and even if they do happen, someone is constantly monitoring your state and keeping you safe.

Surgeons performing surgery
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

12. Your brain reboots as anesthesia wears off

Once the anesthesia starts to wear off, your brain will slowly wake up. However, it doesn’t all happen at once.

Your brain actually reboots itself in a sense, trying to figure out how it all works again.

Closeup of crop anonymous sad female with green eyes and rainbow light on face looking at camera
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

13. You may have some temporary memory loss

Upon waking up, you may experience some confusion and even some temporary memory loss. In fact, you may not have much control over some of your motor functions. This put some people in an understandable state of agitation or distress.

All of this should wear off as the hours go by, however.

A Woman Talking to a Patient
Pexels
Source:
Pexels

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Article Sources:
To learn more read our Editorial Standards.
Share this article
By Jake Manning
hi@sbly.com
Jake Manning is a senior writer at Shareably. Jake is a former college baseball player, but after graduating he realized his true passion lies in writing and traveling. Since graduating college, Jake has lived in 8 different cities, spanning 3 different continents. Now that he's settled stateside, he looks forward to coaching his kids' baseball team, writing his own novel, and continuing to share uplifting stories from around the globe.
Advertisement
Advertisement