General Anesthesia is defined as the maintenance of unconscious state even when a painful stimulus is applied. In real world terms, this means you are deeply unconscious while an airway device is placed. Anesthesia gases are then delivered to maintain you unconscious state.
General anesthesia usually begins with an IV induction agent (IV drug) that brings you to an initial state of unconsciousness. Once completely asleep, an airway device is placed to maintain your breathing. This airway device can come in two forms: an endotracheal tube or a laryngeal mask airway (LMA). The former is a tube that is insert through the vocal cords into your trachea. This will allow the airway to be secured while delivering oxygen and anesthetic gas to maintain your asleep state. The LMA is a soft pliable device that seats in the back of your mouth. This device maintains an open airway, allowing you to breathe on your own while it maintains your asleep state with anesthesia gas. Additional medications may also be given through your IV to help maintain your unconscious state. All of your vital signs will be monitored closely throughout the operation.
Once the surgery is done, the anesthesia gas will be turned off and you will start to come to a state of consciousness. You will then be transferred to the Recovery Room.
The most common side effect of general anesthesia is nausea/vomiting. Medications will be given to help prevent, but in some instances, it is not 100% preventable. Additional medication can be given if needed. A sore throat is also a common side effect. If you do get a sore throat, usually it only last for 1-2 days resolving on it's own. Throat lozenges and sprays usually help alleviate most of the discomfort. There is also a possibility of dental/lip injury when we place the breathing device, but it's is extremely rare.
Upon arrival to the recovery room, most patients are awake and responsive, most do not initially remember their arrival. There first recollection usually occurs within the next 10-20 minutes. There you will be closely monitored until discharge.