What are the different levels of sedation in anesthesia?

Although the effects of sedation are better described in terms of "stages" or being part of a "continuum," sedation is usually divided into three categories:

1. Minimal sedation, or anxiolysis
2. Moderate sedation
3. Deep sedation

During minimal sedation, you will feel relaxed, and you may be awake. You can understand and answer questions and will be able to follow your physician's instructions.

When receiving moderate sedation, you will feel drowsy and may even sleep through much of the procedure, but will easily awaken when spoken to or touched. You may or may not remember being in the procedure room.

During deep sedation, you will sleep through the procedure with little or no memory of the procedure room. Your breathing can slow, and you might be sleeping until the medications wear off. With deep sedation, supplemental oxygen is often given.

With any of the three levels of sedation, you may receive an injection of local anesthetic to numb the surgical site. You may or may not feel some discomfort as this medication is injected, depending on how sedated you are. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.