Uses and benefits of intravenous (IV) sedation


Intravenous (IV) sedation is a type of anesthesia (medicine that relaxes the patient and prevents pain), given through a tube placed into a vein. It is also known as controlled anesthesia (MAC), awake sedation, or in some cases, twilight sleep.

There are different types of IV sedatives. Depending on the surgical procedure, the amount of anesthesia used can vary from a minimal amount (enough to make the patient numb) to more so that the patient sleeps more soundly. Patients who have received stronger anesthesia may not remember the procedure afterward.

This article will discuss the types of anesthesia and when to use them, and what you need to know if you are preparing for a procedure that requires you to fall asleep.

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Types of anesthesia

There are four main types of anesthesia that are used during certain medical or surgical procedures. The types include:

  • Local anesthesia: Local anesthesia is an injection of medicine that numbs a small area. It is used, for example, to remove a mole or skin cancer, or to take a biopsy.
  • Regional anesthesia: Regional anesthesia is used to numb most of the body. Anesthesia can be given through an injection or a catheter. Patients will be awake but will not be able to feel the numbness in the area.
  • Neuraxial anesthesia: Neuraxial anesthesia is a form of regional anesthesia that is administered between the vertebrae, such as the spinal or epidural . This form of anesthesia is used during childbirth and often during hip and knee surgeries.
  • Controlled anesthesia (IV sedation): Controlled anesthesia or IV sedation is given through a vein. Patients can speak, depending on the level of anesthesia, or be in a deep sleep. Patients can breathe on their own, so intubation (insertion of a tube into the windpipe) is not required. Intravenous sedation is used in colonoscopy, some plastic surgery procedures, and increasingly in some procedures that were previously performed under general anesthesia, such as hernia repair.
  • General anesthesia: General anesthesia is administered by inhaling anesthetic gas through a mask or intravenously. In addition to putting the patient into a deep sleep, the drugs also paralyze the muscles. Therefore, respiration is controlled by an endotracheal tube inserted into the trachea. General anesthesia is used for patients who have had major surgery, such as open heart surgery.

Intravenous sedation is safe and effective for those patients who require minor surgery or a procedure to diagnose disease (such as a biopsy).


The benefits of using IV sedation during plastic surgery and other procedures include the following:

  • Ability to administer a more precise amount of anesthesia
  • Higher level of security
  • Lower incidence of postoperative nausea, vomiting, urinary retention, pulmonary complications, and malignant hyperthermia (life-threatening but rare complication of general anesthesia)
  • Faster treatment (recovery from anesthesia)
  • Lower risk of blood clots and pulmonary embolism (blood clots that travel to the lungs)

Because the patient can breathe spontaneously with IV sedation, both the surgeon and the anesthesiologist will be aware of the patient's discomfort before the patient and can respond by increasing local anesthetic (pain reliever medications) or sedation levels. …


Strong sedation can suppress the respiratory drive (slow breathing) and requires careful monitoring of respiratory levels and oxygen saturation. If the sedation is too deep, endotracheal intubation may be required.

Before the procedure with intravenous sedation.

Before undergoing an IV sedation procedure, you should inform your doctor of any allergies or medical conditions you have. You should also inform your doctor of any medications you are taking and any previous surgeries, including the type of anesthesia used.

You should also ask if the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthesiologist will administer the anesthesia since your medical and medical history is different.

You may need to ask a responsible adult to drive you to and from the facility for your procedure.

Follow all instructions given to you before surgery, including food and drink restrictions. Avoid drinking alcohol the day before or on the day of your procedure, as this can affect anesthesia.

It is important to quit smoking before surgery to reduce the risk of delayed healing after the procedure. After surgery, you will be given a list of instructions to follow, along with symptoms that will prompt you to call your doctor.

After the procedure with IV sedation.

Most of the time after the procedure you will feel dizzy, you may have mild headaches and nausea. As you recover, your nurse will monitor your vital signs, including blood pressure , heart rate, and oxygen levels. You will usually be monitored for an hour or two after your procedure before you can return home with a driver.

Frequently asked questions

How much does IV sedation cost?

The price of IV sedation can vary depending on where the procedure is performed. Your doctor and his team will be able to discuss with you how much your procedure will cost, including anesthesia.

What drug is used for intravenous sedation?

No drug is used for intravenous sedation. In fact, the anesthetist (the doctor who performs the anesthesia) will use a combination of medications to relax your body, relieve your pain, and help you forget about the procedure.

How long does IV sedation last?

It depends on the length of your procedure. Because the drugs are injected through the bloodstream, IV sedation works quickly. Your anesthesiologist will monitor your medication levels throughout the procedure and will remove the IV at the appropriate time. After stopping the drug, patients wake up early and recover in about a day.

Why shouldn't I smoke before IV sedation?

Smoking affects more than just the lungs; it also affects our heart. Complications from smoking, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and breathing problems, can affect the way your body handles anesthesia and can even affect your recovery.

How is IV sedation?

Most people will feel very relaxed at the beginning of IV sedation as the medicine takes effect. Many people remember the feeling of relaxation and the feeling of awakening after the end of the procedure, but nothing in between.

How fast will IV sedatives work?

Medications given through the bloodstream start to work quickly, often within minutes.

How long should I wait to eat after IV sedation?

Your doctor will give you instructions on how to get better, including when you can eat and drink. Depending on the level of sedation and the medication you have been given, they may recommend starting with liquids before moving on to solid foods.

Get the word of drug information

Intravenous sedation (intravenous sedation) is a safe alternative to general anesthesia for minor surgeries. It can provide sedation from light sleep (relaxed and slightly drowsy) to deep sleep.

Of course, all forms of anesthesia carry risks, and it is important to speak with your surgeon and anesthesiologist about any medical conditions you may have, as well as take care of yourself after the procedure and follow the instructions given.

Quitting smoking is probably the first thing any smoker can do to improve the safety of anesthesia and heal after any surgical procedure.

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