Procedural Sedation: A Complete Guide On How To Prepare

Are you or  someone you know about to undergo a medical procedure? Does it involve sedation?

It might seem like a daunting and scary experience, but you don’t have to worry — we are here to help!

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps to best prepare your upcoming procedure. 

Before we do that, you should know the difference between sedation and anesthesia.

Sedation has existed for a long time as a tried and tested approach to conducting surgical operations. 

It’s been used for all kinds of surgeries and procedures in dental, orthopedic, cardiac, etc.

There are various kinds of sedation: some drugs will put you to sleep outright for several minutes depending on dosage, and some can numb certain areas where they operate. 

However, sedation is different from anesthesia. Anesthesia often requires a patient to  have a breathing tube placed, then anesthetic gas is is used to put the patient to sleep in a matter of minutes, allowing doctors and surgeons to perform surgery without interference.

Before Your Procedure

There are a few steps to do before a procedure.

Ask Questions

Ask questions about the procedure. You have every right to know exactly what’s going to happen, and how the procedure  will work.

Don’t let your anxiety stop you from learning more about the procedure.

Once the doctor explains it, you should feel much more at ease, because you’ll have a more thorough understanding of the entire process.

That’s not the only thing to ask questions about though, as you should also question how long the effect will last, if there are any side effects, what you can expect to feel, and how the sedation will be administered.

You should also ask if there are specific instructions or guidelines to follow before or after the procedure. 

Follow Instructions

Follow all the instructions the healthcare provider gives you.

Always disclose what medications and supplements you’re taking to your doctor, because some may conflict with the sedation process,  you maybe asked  to stop taking them until the procedure is complete. 

Disclose any allergies you have to avoid unnecessary complications that could arise later.

Most doctors are likely to request patients to have an empty stomach before the procedure.

There will also be someone to monitor and advocate for you during the procedure, and a doctor should be trained and competent in sedation administration. 

Remember that not only anesthesiologists are allowed to perform sedation — there is a list of medical professionals qualified for the job.

They must not only be up to date on their sedation knowledge by using a specialty program like Safe Sedation Training, they must also have a medical degree, licensing, certificates, and so on.

Do not hesitate to ask if your Dr. complies with all the necessary safe sedation requirements.

Arrange Transportation

It’s not recommended to drive after your procedure. If you have any plans to go somewhere, cancel them and arrange for someone to come pick you up.

If no one’s available, take a taxi or find a ride using the various travel apps available on your phone to get home safely.

It should be safe for you to drive 24 hours after the procedure, but be careful to avoid it until then.

Having someone by your side after procedure is also recommended, as you might need assistance doing basic things for the first few hours after the procedure.

Avoid Alcohol And Caffeine

As we emphasized earlier, you should have  an empty stomach before your procedure.  

You maybe asked to refrain from having any alcohol or caffeine for at least 24 hours before your operation, as it can pose a risk to your health and cause complications to arise during the procedure.

These substances have been known to have adverse effects on sedation. 

Bring Your ID And Insurance Card

In case you have insurance, you should always remember to bring your insurance card with you to the procedure.

Also, ensure you have your ID alongside any necessary paperwork from your healthcare provider.

During Your Procedure

During your procedure, keep in mind the following tips:


Don’t panic. It’s a simple procedure; relax and breathe as you normally would.

The gas or other sedation medications will help you relax or sleep, and you won’t feel a thing throughout the procedure.

The science of sedation is sound and has been thoroughly tested to ensure that it causes no pain to the patients.

The experience may be  discomforting, but it will not be painful, so all you have to do is stay calm.

Follow Instructions

If the doctor gives you any instructions, always follow them thoroughly throughout the procedure.

Don’t do something on your own, wait to be guided by a medical professional instead.

If you feel any pain or discomfort, then make sure to communicate as such to the healthcare provider.

After Your Procedure

Once your procedure has been done, simply:


Rest for a while after your procedure. You will likely feel dizzy or groggy and may have trouble moving around, so sit still and relax for a bit, because the worst part is now over.

These mild side effects will go away soon; they are only temporary and will stop occurring in a few hours.


Make sure you drink plenty of fluids after the procedure. Water, or even juices, will help you regain energy quicker, flushing out toxins in your body and avoiding dehydration.

You should still avoid caffeine or alcohol until you feel fully recovered. 

Eat Light Foods

You should eat light and easy-to-digest foods after the procedure. It will help prevent nausea and vomiting.

You should avoid eating spicy, fatty, or greasy foods until you are fully recovered from the sedation.

Follow Instructions

To reiterate: follow the instructions given to you by your healthcare provider.

Some doctors may prescribe certain medications you should take post-procedure, or may even recommend applying some ice packs or dressings to the site.

The doctor may recommend you take it easy and avoid strenuous exercise or activities.

If you feel like something’s wrong, contact and express your concerns to your healthcare provider immediately!

Final Note

Sedation does have some risks involved, but decades of advanced medical research have rendered the risk almost non-existent.

There is no need to be afraid of it, and by following the tips we’ve mentioned, you can help ensure that you will have a smooth and stress-free experience in your sedation procedure. 

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