Sleepiness, Speech Slurring & Being Cold After Surgery

While anesthesia can be risky, it is a common practice used during a vast majority of surgical procedures. Anesthesia is a mix of pain relief and sensation administered before a surgery under the direction of an anesthesiologist. Anesthesia can be local, regional or general, or a sedative can be administered through an intravenous line. Anesthesia that uses sedation frequently comes with side effects. Side effects can include slurred speech, sleepiness and coldness upon awaking from surgery.

A doctor consults with her patient who is recovering from surgery. (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is used to make a patient completely unconscious during surgery. Medication is inhaled through a breathing mask or is administered through an intravenous line. This induces sleep. As a result, surgeons are able to operate with reduced muscle and organ movement. Patients are kept unconscious and monitored throughout surgery by an anesthesiologist. After surgery, drugs may be administered to help reverse the anesthesia or patients may awake on their own.

Monitored Anesthesia Care

Monitored anesthesia care is often used for procedures that do not require a general anesthetic. Drugs are administered through an intravenous line and the patient's vital signs are monitored throughout the surgery. This anesthesia may cause a patient to sleep through a surgery. The patient may also remain awake but is likely to not remember a vast majority of his time in the operating room. Monitored anesthesia care is frequently used in conjunction with a local or regional anesthetic.


Surgery can cause anxiety for many patients. Prior to surgery, an anesthesia team may administer a sedative known as Versed. This drug causes drowsiness, relieves anxiety and helps the brain to block the memory of a surgical procedure.


Fatigue is a very common side effect after receiving anesthesia. Fatigue may occur as the result of the physical stress placed on the body during surgery or as the result of the anxiety of having surgery. It can take a few days or weeks to recover from post-surgery fatigue. This varies on a case-by-case basis. The amount of fatigue experienced depends largely on your age, the length of your surgery, your overall health and the specific anesthesia drugs used during your surgery.

Slurred Speech

As you wake up from anesthesia, you may notice your speech is slurred and it may be difficult for the medical team or your family members to understand you. Anesthesia can make you feel like you are in a fog or as if you have had too much to drink. The drugs used during your surgery are designed to depress your body's reflexes. Therefore, you may experience slurred speech for the first few hours after surgery.

Feeling Cold

You may wake up from surgery feeling cold or experiencing uncontrolled shaking, shivering or chills. This is largely because surgical suites are kept very cool. A lower body temperature helps to lower the circulation of your blood, which amounts to less blood loss during surgery. It can also be a side effect of anesthesia. Once you are out of surgery, the medical staff can cover you with warming blankets to help you become more comfortable.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.