Post-Anesthesia Care

The Recovery Room you will go to after surgery is called the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) (pronounced pack-you)

This is the area in which you will recover from the anesthesia used during your surgery.

Recovery from the actual surgery will take place on the nursing unit (if you will be staying in the hospital after anesthesia recovery) and at home after discharge.

Recovery Room

The Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)

What to expect in PACU

  • After surgery, you will be taken by stretcher to the PACU.
  • This is the area where you will wake up and recover from the anesthesia.
  • The PACU is made up of bays separated by privacy curtains. Here, surgical patients are cared for by nurses trained in post-anesthesia care.
  • Some pain or discomfort may be expected after surgery. Your post-anesthesia nurse will work with you to control your pain using a combination of narcotic and non-narcotic pain medication and other pain-control methods (ice packs, positioning, etc.).
  • Nausea is a common side effect of anesthesia. You will receive medication to help prevent nausea during surgery, but if you experience nausea in the recovery room, your post-anesthesia nurse has IV medications, aromatherapy and acupressure methods to treat your symptoms.
  • Once you are awake, you and your nurse will decide when you feel ready to have your support person join you in the recovery room. Most patients are ready for a visit between 30-90 minutes after arrival in PACU.
  • Before going home, or to your hospital room, your nurse will provide you and your support person with important post-anesthesia and post-surgery information and education. This information is very important for your safety and successful recovery.

How long will I stay in PACU?

  • Each patient is different, and the wake-up time varies from patient-to-patient.
  • Recovery in PACU also depends on the type of surgery.
  • On average, you can expect to stay in PACU between 90 minutes to 3 hours.