Awake Under the Knife: Study Reveals the Horror of Waking Up During Surgery

SurgeryWaking up during surgery without medical staff realizing happens to more than 150 people every year in the UK, a new study discovers.

Accidental Awareness

The study suggests that waking up occurs around one in 19,000 operations.

A team of researchers from the Royal College of Anesthetists and Association of Anesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland analyzed approximately three million surgeries for 12 months.

Though the case is rare, experts argue that surgeons need to do something to prevent it.

This is the biggest-ever study of its kind, which is shedding light on how surgeons will prevent it and what such an experience feels like.

‘Highly Distressing Experience’

Many patients who regain consciousness during the operation said they felt fear and panic. Scientists claim most of them may be extremely traumatized and experience post-traumatic stress disorder.

“For the vast majority it should be reassuring that patients report awareness so infrequently,” said lead researcher Prof Tim Cook in a statement. “However for a small number of patients this can be a highly distressing experience. I hope this report will ensure anesthetists pay even greater attention to preventing episodes of awareness.”

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