Breathing Tube: Intubated with an Endotracheal Tube

| January 19, 2013 | 428 Comments

Updated: Jan 15, 2017

Will I be intubated with an endotracheal tube during surgery? This is the place to quickly learn all about the mysterious breathing tube.

If you are undergoing general anesthesia for a procedure, your anesthesiologist may decide to place a breathing tube once you are asleep.  This is called an endotracheal tube and is a plastic tube that is placed into your mouth and down into the entrance to your lungs.  One of the reasons this is placed is to help protect your lungs from gastric aspiration.

Also, general anesthesia medicines can make you so sleepy that the anesthesiologist needs to do something to help breathe for you while you are sleeping.  This is another reason why the breathing tube is placed into your windpipe; it helps oxygen get into your lungs during general anesthesia.  Once the breathing tube is placed, a ventilator machine will help you breathe and anesthesia gas may go through this tube into your lungs to provide anesthesia.

You will be asleep or sedated the entire time this tube is in place.  When your lungs are strong enough and the anesthesia is wearing off, the breathing tube will be removed.  Rarely, your throat may be a little sore after general anesthesia if a breathing tube was placed during the surgery.  If the sore throat does occur, it will usually resolve in a day or two.   Even more rare than a sore throat is damage to lips or teeth during placement of the tube because the tube is placed through your mouth.

Your anesthesiologist will discuss with you whether or not the plan is for general anesthesia with a breathing tube in place for your procedure.  Do not fear this as this is a procedure that is performed almost on a daily basis by anesthesiologists.  Unless explicitly discussed with your anesthesiologist prior to surgery, the breathing tube will be placed while you are completely asleep and unaware of anything.

Did you have a breathing tube during your surgery?  Let us know what your experience was all about by leaving a comment below or visiting the forum.  Don’t forget to learn about other anesthesia myths during your visit as well.



We have had some readers share experiences about “clamping down” on the breathing during the process of emerging from anesthesia (“waking up”).

This tendency to bite on the breathing tube can occur in some patients during this period as they are confused and disoriented. And they typically will not remember these first events as they are coming out of anesthesia.

Many anesthesiologists do place an oral airway during this time to protect the breathing tube and provide a better conduit for air/oxygen flow as the breathing tube is removed. You can see what an oral airway looks like below:


oral airway








Occasionally, it may not be best to place one of these airways. In those cases, a “soft” oral airway may be created and placed by the anesthesiologist or other techniques may be used.

This airway usually stays in until the patient is aware of it and no longer needs it to assist in keeping the airway open post operatively.

I hope this update proves useful. Share your questions and experiences below or in our forum.

What General Anesthesia Side Effect have you experienced, if any?

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Category: General Anesthesia

Comments (428)

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  1. Katie says:

    I went under general for my very first surgery today. I was a bit surprised by the anesthesiologist telling me a breathing tube would be used. My mom has had surgeries, and never came across this. I knew it would all take place while I was under, and got the impression that this was very normal for the anesthesiologist to do. I was told that I may have a sore throat when I woke up, but this was not the case for me. The only reminder of the tube was a little bit of glue from the tape on my face!

    • Dr Dave says:

      Hi Katie,

      Thanks for your comment. Depending on what kind of surgeries your mom had, she may or may not have had a breathing tube. It may be that her anesthesiologist simply didn’t go into great detail explaining that aspect of her anesthetic.

      Breathing tubes and LMA’s are pretty standard for most types of procedures that require a general anesthetic.

      Glad to hear you didn’t have a sore throat!

      Dr. David

      • Thelma says:

        I had first op an woke without cpap machine on I was chokin got attention of nurse jus in time sooooo scare 1 yr later same opp opted 4 epedural this time heart ethyl went berserk another tuts sed can u feel that” r u ok after was given drug fa an fib. Heart was fine befor Now waitin 4 3 op high risk cancer they said last year they keep cancelling apptmts. Sooooo worried. I think I may suie. !!!!!!!

        • Bonnie says:

          I had surgery I woke up after with breathing tube still in the nurse left it in for a hour. i was gaging and having the worst pain i thought i was going to bust staples. i was fighting so she taped my hands down. She told my family this was normal. Then she turned the machine off and told my family that this was a test to see how i was breathing on my own. How do you do that? I felt like i was going to die. i have to go for surgery and I am terrified to have it done.

      • jurusha says:

        Dr Dave I had a breathing tube put in today now i have scars on my throat

        • David Draghinas says:

          Hi Jurusha,

          Scars on your throat would be very unusual following a breathing tube. You may wish to have your physician check that out.

          I hope you get back to normal soon.

          Dr Dave

          • Barbara says:

            Hi I went into hospital yesterday for a full knee replacement they tried 5 times with the spinal but it wouldn’t work. So I had a general instead. When I came round they said I hadn’t had the op due to they couldn’t get the tubes down past my chest why is this.

        • mary says:

          I went in for routine surgery they had difficulty with breathing tube try 4 to 5 times worst sore throat ever hard swallow hard to chew surgery was cancelled left hospital worster then came in

          • Leah Yeley says:

            I had all my teeth taken out 3 days ago they did the tube my throat hurt so bad but also I think they may have tried to put tube in my nose at first because there was a little bit of blood under my nose but still my tongue is swollen

      • Jenny says:

        Can you get sores on your tongue after surgery?

      • Letrenia says:

        I went in for full hysterectomy an was intubated for 3 an half hours now the next morning after surgery my tongue feels numb especially on tip,horrible dry mouth an can’t swallow or eat anything dry with out taking a drink of water also tounge touching top of mouth constantly so i wonder if its swollen? ??? Is all of the above normal

        • LoosinIt says:

          I had my hysterectomy 8 days ago and since my tongue has been numb and back of my head impossible to lay down with. Scared I can’t sleep at all.. was told O probably from the tube and operating table :/

          • Lori Skinner says:

            Who ever told you 0% is a liar.
            they put to much pressure on one of the carainial nerves. Look up nerve damage during intubation.

        • Pam Oldach says:

          Look under the tip of your tongue, mine had skin hanging and open sores! 4 days later and still in awful pain!!

          • Pam Oldach says:

            Complained about my tongue, the anesthesiologist even came to talk to me before I was discharged, but I never looked under my tongue till next day!! I was under general for 2 hours, someone screwed up!

          • Heather Ortiz says:

            I just had a D&C and a few other things done yesterday and my tongue is the same as yours. It’s very painful and has an open sore. It’s hard to talk.

      • Michelle Hamilton says:

        Hi Dr Dave
        I had routine D&C today. Never had issue with anesthesia of any kind…until today. I became aware of my surroundings and realized I could not breathe talk or move. I was only able to get my hip to twitch…they finally intubated me. I was in recovery 9 hours. I had aspirated in my lungs very sore throat and low pulse ox. What went wrong

      • Maddie says:

        Hey doc! I had a tooth surgery and went under with no tube. Or atleast I think. Before the surgery I had a slight sore throat and now I still have it and yellow mucus and or phlegm. What’s that about?

      • Victoria says:

        Can I ask I had operation about a year ago now I was sick during it and they put a pipe down ever since I am suffering with pain In middle of chest and serious heart burn feeling if I’m sick it really hurts too could it be damaged from them putting it down so quickly worried about it now thanks

        • David Draghinas says:

          Hi Victoria,
          I’m not sure a breathing tube causes the types of symptoms you are describing. But if you’re still having those symptoms, it would be worth it to have your physician check it out.

          Dr Dave

    • Jeanette says:

      I just had a cholecystectomy done on 1/14 wherein a breathing tube was used. I found out when I was in recovery that I turned blue because I had clamped down on the tube and they had to give me oxygen right away. Why isn’t a mouthpiece used so this can’t happen? As a matter of fact, I wasn’t told by anyone about this happening until I overhead one of the nurses telling the floor nurse what happened. I have a post-op appointment coming up and will discuss this with my surgeon.

      • Dr Dave says:


        First of all, I’m glad to see that you pulled through whatever event that occurred.

        Definitely discuss it with your surgeon, and if he/she can’t provide enough details, ask to speak with the anesthesiologist that took care of you.

        From what you are describing, it sounds like you bit down on the breathing tube as you were waking up from anesthesia. This can happen as patients “wake up” and are disoriented as to the situation and their surroundings. Occasionally, this clamping down can be enough to affect oxygen flow within the breathing tube.

        I typically do use an oral airway to protect the breathing tube on extubation and to provide a conduit for air/oxygen flow once the tube is removed. Occasionally, this may not be the best course of action.

        It will be helpful to get an idea of what occurred so that you can pass on that information to your anesthesiologist should you need surgery in the future.

        If you’d like, you can help us all learn a little more from your experience by posting what you learn on our forum.

        Thanks for stopping by and sharing your personal experience with our community!

        Dr. Dave

        • ron marovich jr says:

          Ya well i wanst so lucky the way i figure it i didnt get enough anesthsia be cause i woke up and i think i statled the anesthisiologist be cause when he saw my eyes open he sai to me well the surgery was a success and then i responded only to realize i cant move and started choking on the tube that was down my throat i was sufficateing i heard the heart monitor take off like a rocket i went into convulsions it was the worst exsperiance a million times over . The second time i came around when i open my eyes the nurse said dont try to talk theres a tube still in your throat and i had to consentrate so hard sos not to choke. Now if i was being awakined the first time and it was on purpose shouldnt the anasthesiaologist of said to me dont try to talk theres a tube down your tbroat, but he didnt say the instead he said the surgery was a success and i tried to speak and the nitemare began.

          • David Draghinas says:

            I’m sorry to hear you had such a traumatic experience.

            Have you gotten any more information from your anesthesiologist since your procedure? What you describe is not typical.

            Why was your extubation experience (removing the breathing tube) so rough?

            • Debra says:

              My son had surgery but his issue is top of stomach & lungs are real sore..What could this be?

              • David Draghinas says:

                Thanks for writing in Debra. That doesn’t sound like a common complaint after anesthesia.

                Could it be related to his procedure? If it’s not improved, it may be a good idea to talk to his doctor.

                Dr Dave

          • Denise says:

            Hi my name is Denise in February at the start of this year I was put in a chemically induced coma but I was still able to feel some things the drug they used to sedate me was propafol I now this because 3 months later I read mu discharge notes any way I was is a coma for a week and a half I had pneumonia and reoccourent chest infections I was also treated for septicaemia it was because of my diabetes and these things that ended me up so so ill why could I still feel what was happening and how long does propafol take to work

            • David Draghinas says:

              Hi Denise,

              First off, I hope you are doing much better. It sounds like you’ve been through quite a bit!

              Propofol, while used to induce general anesthesia in the operating room, is commonly used as an infusion to provide sedation for intubated patients in the ICU.

              Depending on the doses used (and my guess is that it had to be low dose due to your septicemia), you may have memories of what occurred during that time.

              All the best,

              Dr. Dave

              • Debra says:

                I had surgery 2nov2015 and i had a breathing tube inserted i develped a dry crokey cough straight away and feel i carnt breath at times and have to catch my breath!!! Can my lungs have been damaged by the tube being inserted? as im a non smoker but cough like i am!!!!

        • Emily says:

          I was put asleep with for surgery but there was no oxygen running. The tube was in my mouth and thought I was going to die I could here doctors telling me stop trying to get the tube out of my mouth my doctor has passed away earlier that day and I was still bleeding externally I was put back to sleep after already having a c-section a few hours prior because of my placenta ruptured I was wondering should my oyxgen been turned. Off while I was still asleep supposed to be having a hysterectomy. My eyes were tape so I first breath I tried to make I was getting no oxygen at all after all I had been though that day I felt like I was going to die for sure because my oyxgen was not on to try and get air I pull my all most life less body and slammed my head four times against the side of the bed were I could get air it didn’t work it was taped to my face and my eyes were taped also and I could feel the tears getting past the tape on going down. My cheek I could see doc around my bed but all they want was me to stop banging my head on the bed thank God the air finally come though the tube I also heard them turn the oyxgen on is it normal to have a doctor to handle my surgery in such I manner they didn’t even do the hysterectomy. After all of that I feel like they almost or came really close. To killing me

      • Amy says:

        I had the same experience while having a staple placed in my foot to repair a broken metatarsal . I clamped down on the breathing tube as they were removing it. They couldn’t get the tube out , or put it back in . I had no airway , resulting in a pulmonary edema. When I came to I had the feeling of drowning as I could hear water in my lungs everytime I took a breath. My chest was sore for two weeks after the surgery from the fluid in my lungs . I’m terrified to ever have to have another surgery again in my life.

        • David Draghinas says:

          So sorry to hear about your terrible experience, Amy.

          It sounds like what happened to you is laryngospasm, which led to negative pressure pulmonary edema.

          This is a very rare thing that can happen with removal of the breathing tube. Should you need surgery again, definitely let your anesthesiologist know about this. And just because it happened before, does not mean it’ll happen again.

          Thanks for sharing your personal story with us.

          Dr. Dave

    • doug hayden says:

      I had a different outcome. when I woke up I had a sore spot under my tongue. Within a day or so the sore got worse and the pain was a 7-8 out of ten. Jaw hurt more than the shoulder surgery I had. Long story short it seemed the metal tool used to help hold the tongue down had scraped the skin off my jaw bone under my tongue. There was a hole the size of my finger print where I could see my jaw bone!
      4 weeks and there is still a somewhat smaller hole in my jaw. Hopefully within a few weeks it may go away. pain is still at a 3-4 most of the day. be carefull!!!

      • David Draghinas says:

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Doug.

        What you are describing is NOT typical. You may want to have your physician take a look at the wound.

        Hope you feel better soon.

        Dr. Dave

      • Lena Caz says:

        I have the same thing going on right now! I kept complaining in the hosptial and was ignored. I am in constant pain and wondering what I can do to get this to heal???

      • Mark says:

        I came across your article after doing a search on what happened to myself… I had similar problem after having a major spinal (Lumbar fusion/decompression) surgery. The surgeon really did an awesome job, But the hospital’s surgical prep team REALLY dropped the ball when it came to getting me prepared for a long surgery. When I woke up after the 9 & 1/2 hour procedure, I had a shopping list of pain…But not at all in the areas you would expect them to be in. My back actually felt fine. But my face was swollen, my left eyelid had a sore where they used latex tape to close my eyelids. They weren’t supposed to use any latex on me at all because I have a known allergy to latex, My bottom gum and my thighs and my right testicle were also sore or hurting like hell. My bottom gum had a circular “hole” below one of my molars (bottom right). I just went to the dentist this morning about the hole in my gum. It’s been 30 days since the procedure and I decided to go see my dentist because that gum wound has been slow to heal. My dentist took one look in there and informed me that I he can see exposed jaw bone. He then referred me to an oral surgeon for evaluation. The options are letting it heal on its own or, have the oral surgeon close the hole because the risk of infection is high. I’ve been really pondering how I could have possibly gotten a hole in my gum… I guess the tongue restraining device sounds like the most likely culprit. But that’s not all they did to me.. My thighs were hurting because I woke up with two cuts on the front of each thigh. Apparently, these were from the buckles they had strapped me to the Mazor robotics system they used to perform the surgery with. The cuts are still healing, but they were all deep enough to assure that they will most likely scar up…. Also, my right testicle was “killing me” after I woke up from that surgery…That pain continued for weeks after. During the procedure I was in the face down position for about 10 hours, A friend of mine who works as a traveling nurse working operating rooms across the country tells me they probably forgot to make sure that my testicles were properly situated outside of my body, so it was mashed between me and the O.R. table… But thankfully, that’s also gotten much better…although it’s still sore. It has been a rough recovery, when I fill out the hospital survey, they are going to get this report. I’m not interested in suing anybody, I just want them to be aware of these issues so the next guy (or gal) won’t have to wake up with unexpected trauma….The surgeon did an excellent job and cured me of all of the issues that I originally went in for…I have nothing negative to say regarding the performance of my doctor. 🙂

        • David Draghinas says:


          Thanks for sharing with us your candid experience.

          A 10 hour back surgery can be very difficult from a post op recovery standpoint. It’s hard for me to give you any meaningful comment on the dental issues. For prone cases (head down), I use a soft bite block (rolled up gauze) to protect the airway and minimize any trauma to the mouth and lips.

          It’s also standard practice to check that the genitalia are free from pressure.

          And after 10 hours, it’s pretty common to have some swelling of the face area.

          I’m glad your surgeon had a good outcome and I pray that you speedily recover from all these post operative issues.

          Dr. Dave

    • Renee says:

      Just hade the breathing tube now my tbroat is burning and im coughing so much please give me advise

      • David Draghinas says:

        Sorry to hear about your sore throat.

        Throat lozenges can provide symptomatic relief. And the typical sore throats from intubation don’t last too long.

        Hope you feel better soon.

        Dr Dave

    • Nicola Dean says:

      Hi , I had a tube recently down my throat and have noticed, that my left side of my jaw hurts , especially when I sleep on that side of the face

      • David Draghinas says:

        Sorry to heat that, Nicola.

        If it doesn’t improve, you might consider speaking with your anesthesiologist to see if there were any issues with the breathing tube.

        Dr Dave

    • Janet Bowser says:

      I just had surgery Herniated disc’s
      My anesloglist hadn’t explained that.
      I proceeded to wake up while it was still in my throat had to cough but couldn’t. Tried to use my hand but they we’re still strapped down. Tried to tell someone but couldn’t. My bp dropped at some point to 70 30. Needless to say surgery was stopped. Second surgery different anesthesia person went without a issue.

      • David Draghinas says:

        I’m sorry to hear about your scary first experience, but am glad things were much better the second time around.

        Dr Dave

  2. Arlene says:


    I too had to have a breathing tube inserted during surgery for an orbital floor fracture. Upon waking up from the anesthesia, I felt more dry mouth than sore throat. The anesthesiologist advised I may feel sore throat but i must say if I did have it, it was so minimal I did not feel it. I think there was much more going on that even if i did have sore throat, it didn’t even matter. I will admit however, I was scared and had a little anxiety when I was first told about this tube. The scare and thought is more of a pain then the actual aftermath of having it. Please do not fret over this tube insertion as you will not even remember it much less feel it.

  3. Nicole says:

    I had my first surgery today and was given general anesthesea. I also had a breathing tube inserted and woke up with a very sore throat. My nurse told me it was normal to feel like this and said it would go away in a day or two.

    • DrJoe says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. And I am sorry to hear that your throat is sore.

      You are right that sometimes your throat might be sore after general anesthesia with a breathing tube. Your nurse was right when he or she told you the sore throat would go away in a couple of days.

      I recommend using Cepacol lozenges for a little relief as your throat heals. If your throat does not get any better after a couple of days, let your doctor know.

      Please check back in after a few days and let us know how you are feeling.

      • Raquel says:

        Hi my name is Raquel
        I just had surgery about 5 days ago. I needed to have my lap band removed as I had some trouble trying to swallow my saliva and even water. Everything kept coming back out and throwing up, and my band slipped. When I got tothe hospital they deflated my band and had to have it removed. The anesthesiologist had told me that I was going to be incubated and I would have like a soar throat for a 1 day or 2 and I feel like my throat hearts more than my inscision sight. Is there any remedy or cure to this pain I feel in my throat. It hurts to swallow saliva let alone even liquids. HELP!!!

        • Joe Jackson says:

          Hi Raquel,

          So sorry to hear about your sore throat. Did the anesthesiologist mention anything about a difficult intubation? Sometimes a sore throat after surgery may be a sign of a difficult intubation.

          In any case, what I would recommend is Cepacol lozenges. They can help numb the back of your throat for awhile, which can provide you with some relief as time passes. If the sore throat persists beyond a week, I would visit with your doctor for an exam.

          Also, check out our post on anesthesia for lap band surgery. This may provide some info for you as well.

          Best of luck. Let us know how things turn out for you.

          • Chantel says:

            Hi I just had a DMc done and my jaw hurts and chest hurts very bad I’m not sure what could’ve happend but I gt the tube aswell

            • David Draghinas says:

              Hello Chantel,

              I hope you feel better soon. If things don’t get better, you may want to check in with your physician and let them know what you are experiencing.

          • Elizabeth says:

            Hi dr hopefully you can answer my question! My dad went to surgery for his kidney transplant and they put the breathing tube now, and when he was out the surgery they put it back because they noticed that he was not breathing well! I guess the second time they hurt then and now is the second day and they won’t take it out because his throat is swollen. My dad is very uncomfortable what he can do!

            • David Draghinas says:

              Hi Elizabeth,

              The airway can become swollen when multiple intubations occur over a short duration of time. When this is the case, it could be very dangerous to remove the breathing tube.

              If it was removed, he may not be able to breathe well enough on his own. Even more troublesome, the doctors may have great difficulty re-intubating with a “swollen airway”. This could be life threatening.

              Hopefully, they can sedate your father while he is intubated, recovers from the swelling, and regains strength so that he can breathe on his own.

              He’s in my thoughts and prayers.

              Dr. Dave

        • Eva says:

          I just did the same thing. Lap band removal with hernia repair and stomach reduction. My neck, jaw, throat, roof of mouth, teeth and ears have been so painful since surgery. Way worse than incisions. I’m sure it’s from intubation. I emailed surgeon and he told me to see PMD. I saw PMD and was given nose spray. It feels like an ice pick is stuck in my ears. Honestly I’ve been taking the post surgery pain med to sleep and escape from all this pain. Ironically, my abdomen doesn’t hurt at all. I’m so desperate at 2 weeks of pain that I’m ready to try a chiropractor.

          • Mark says:

            Eva did you ever figure out the issue? I am having the same issues after a umbilical hernia surgery. Roof of mouth, ears, behind my eyes, upper teeth etc… How long did it last?

      • Philip Ladeau says:

        My one year old just needed a breathing tube in for anesthesia/surgery. He has had a horrible cough for three days since. Answers?

        • David Draghinas says:

          Hi Philip,

          I hope you little one is feeling better.

          A breathing tube shouldn’t cause the cough you are describing. But if he was getting sick around the time of surgery, the stress of surgery could have tipped him over the top.

          He’s in my thoughts and prayers.

          Dr. Dave

  4. Jodi M says:

    I had surgery yesterday under general anesthesia. I had a breathing tube inserted as well. When i woke my throat was very sore and I had a hard time talking and swallowing. I also had a very dry mouth and a horrible taste in mouth. Today I still lose my voice when I talk, and my jaw is extemely sore. Hurts to even chew and of course swallow.

  5. Dr Dave says:


    I’m sorry to hear of your “very sore” throat.

    I am wondering what kind of surgery you had. Surgery that involves the throat and/or the jaw can worsen these types of symptoms.

    And if you were a “difficult intubation”, there’s a higher chance that your throat will be more sore than usual.

    It may not be a bad idea to ask your anesthesiologist if there were any issues in placing or removing the breathing tube.

    I hope you feel better soon!

    Dr. Dave

  6. Jodi M says:

    I had laparoscopic tubal ligation. Also ended up having a polyp removed on my cervix that they found.
    The anesthesiologist didn’t mention anything after the procedure. His only concern before and after was wanting me to follow up asap with my family doctor about his concerns that I may have sleep apnea.
    I was sick last week and was tested Thursday for strep throat and put on antibiotics. So i was only 5 days into my treatment when i had my surgery. Maybe that’s why?

  7. Dr Dave says:

    Thanks for getting back to us with more information, Jody.

    My guess is the strep throat combined with the intubation is what made your sore throat so severe.

    I hope you feel better soon!

    Dr. Dave

  8. kacy says:

    My daughter had surgery yesterday to remove a beeast duct due to a growth. The anesthesiologist did not tell her she would have a breathing tube, the tube had to be inserted during the surgury. Please explain

    • DrJoe says:

      Thanks for your comment. Endotracheal tubes or breathing tubes and laryngeal mask airways (LMA’s) are commonly placed by anesthesiologists during general anesthesia. These devices help provide oxygen to a patient, eliminate carbon dioxide, provide anesthesia gases, and protect against gastric aspiration.

      The placement of a breathing device in a case such as your daughter’s procedure is very common. I am sorry that this came as a surprise to you and your daughter and I hope there were no complications. Let me know if this explanation helps.

  9. Kacy says:

    Thank you Dr. Just thought that a surgeon would explain the “What If’s” ahead of time, not after the procedure was over. I am guessing without knowing yet, the breathing tube was inserted due to a complication. My daughter will discuss with the surgeon at her follow up appointment.

  10. Lee says:

    I had gallbladder surgery last monday and as I was coming to I couldn’t breath, it was a horrible thing to go through. They told me that my larynx had a spasm and closed on the breathing tube. Nobody really will tell me more, and when I called to see why it happened they talked using full names of everyone involved like my call was being recorded. I have had 6 surgeries prior to this, including a heart valve replacement, and never experienced this before. It has been 8 days and I can’t talk for long without my voice getting raspy and my throat becomes sore. How long will it take for my voice to return? I don’t like how everyone involved is avoiding talking to me about it. Am I asking the wrong questions?

    • DrJoe says:


      I am sorry you had this frightening experience. And I am sure it has been frustrating not to get the answers you are looking for.

      From what you are describing, it sounds as if you did have an episode of laryngospasm when you were waking up from anesthesia. Of course, I would continue to try and get answers from healthcare providers that took care of you that day, though.

      Laryngospasm can occur for a variety reasons. One of the most common occurs when blood or secretions fall onto the vocal cords as a person is awakening from anesthesia. Usually these episodes can be treated with a couple of manual techniques by the anesthesiologist. If the first manuevers do not help, IV medicine can be given and the breathing tube may need to be placed again.

      If the placement of the breathing tube was difficult to begin with, this may result in a sore throat after surgery. See the post on difficult intubation for more details. I cannot tell you when your voice may improve, but it should return to normal.

      I think you have been asking the right questions. We are happy you have sent your comments to us as well. Feel free to visit our forum to post further details of your experience there. Let us know how you are feeling over the next few days.

      • Johnfleeman says:

        Dr. My voice is very bad. I got in a car accident and had to be induced there was no surgery but my voice is not come back and has been 3 weeks and it hurts sometimes. Can smokeing be the case.

    • Debbie Faustino says:

      I’ve had the same issues during the last three surgeries and I was on life support for several days during the last one because the anesthesiologist didn’t listen to my request of using a small tube in my throat. Every time I have a normal tube inserted I come out and have major issues breathing.

  11. Jeff says:

    I underwent outpatient surgery with general anesthesia last Friday to have a growth removed from my chin. My throat is still a mess from the breathing tube–even drinking water is painful and I have been unable to eat solid food yet. I take it that this is not common. What could cause this and are there steps I can take to avoid it if I require surgery in the future?

    • Dr Dave says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Some amount of throat soreness, lasting up to a couple days, is not uncommon following general anesthesia with a breathing tube or LMA. Some have found that cepacol lozenges help soothe the throat.

      But having the type of pain your describe this far out from your procedure (preventing you from eating solids foods) does NOT sound typical.

      It may be a good idea to have your doc take a look at your throat to make sure there isn’t something else going on.

      Hope you feel better soon.

      Dr. Dave

  12. Mary Colosi says:

    My thyroid was removed a week and a half ago and I still have a sore throat. Also it’s very difficult to speak sometimes and my words don’t come out right. Is this caused by breathing tube and was a larger tube used for this type of surgery. Thanks

    • DrJoe says:

      Hi Mary,

      Most likely, the same size of breathing tube was used for your thyroid surgery as for any other type of surgery you might undergo. Often times, we use a special type of breathing tube during thyroid surgery to help the surgeons monitor nerve function in your windpipe muscles. However, the outer diameter of these endotracheal tubes is almost the same as a standard endotracheal tube.

      If indeed your surgeon did request the anesthesiologist to place this special tube, why dont we do this for every case? Not all surgeries have a risk of injury to the nerves of the windpipe, so the added cost of the special breathing tube is not indicated.

      I would expect your sore throat to go away soon. If you were difficult to intubate, your throat may be a little more sore than others. If this was not the case, I would put in a call to your surgeon to let them know how your throat and voice are doing. They may need to see you in their office sooner than later.

      Hope this helps. Best of luck to you!

      Dr. Joe

  13. trikatykid says:

    I had my first surgery on Jan 23rd. I had downplayed the “procedure” so much that I was starting to get a little anxious when I found myself on a gurney, in a gown, hairnet, IV, etc, etc, etc. The anesthesiologist warned me of a bit of a sore throat when I woke up (from the tube) and I was surprised to hear that.

    When I woke (which seemed like it was immediately after the Anesthesiologist said, “I’m going to give you something to make you care less”) I did have a bit of a sore throat but it was the last thing on my mind once the residual pain from the surgery started to set in – that pain lasted about 30 seconds before the nurse realized I was experiencing pain and gave me some pain killers and NSAIDs through my IV.

    In the end, there should be no anxiety over a breathing tube. If you are under general anesthesia for surgery, chances are the surgery is to take care of a problem that needs a surgeon’s attention. A trained anesthesiologist will be able to recognize when you need a breathing tube and it will keep you alive and healthy. Life seems like a fair trade for a 30 second sore throat.

    The anesthesia hangover was a lot worse than the sore throat or the pain (all of which was controlled with a bit of medication). Just give your body a chance to sleep and recover without a deadline! That’s my advice. Be patient, and trust the medical staff and if it helps – pray!

    • DrJoe says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. And I am glad that you did well with the surgery and anesthesia. I hope other readers will take your advice. Come back again!

  14. Gail Oates says:

    My husband was put into a induced coma after surgery to remove a tumor on his pancreas in late November 2006. After 2.5 weeks on life support, the wake up procedure began. After a week they said to me that they really wanted to remove the tube down his throat as they said some damage can occur by being left in. Due to still not being able to breath on his own they had to do a tracheometry so they could remove the tube. After a week he was able to breath on his own and on Christmas day 2011 the trachy was removed.
    It is now six years and his voice has not really come back to normal He has been experiencing a lot of choking coughing attacks lately, after talking for a while,and after eating. Now he is feeling like even talking is a strain and his voice is croakey. Do you think there could have been some damage from the breathing tube?

    • Dr Dave says:

      Thanks for your question Gail,

      There can be long term effects/complications, such as some of the ones you describe, from breathing tubes being in place for extended periods of time. I suspect this is why a tracheostomy was performed: your husband may not have been “strong enough” to breathe on his own, but leaving a breathing tube for too long has its own set of risks.

      Here are a couple of things for you and your husband to consider:

      An ENT surgeon would be the right type of physician to see in order to figure out what is going on with the voice and the vocal cords.

      The choking and coughing also is worrisome. If there is a significant problem here it can result in aspiration.

      It may be a good idea to speak to his doctor about this issue. If they feel it’s necessary, a swallowing evaluation can be done to figure out exactly what is going on and what his risk is with feeding.

      I hope this information helps.

      Dr. Dave

  15. Maureen Schrader says:

    I had a cyst removed from my neck on, right below my jaw, on the left side. My throat is still extrememly sore and my ear hurts as a result of the sore throat. It has been five days. I have done everything the nurses suggested and was told there were no problems inserting the breathing tube. Upon looking in my throat, I found that it was extremely red, bruised, and white on the left side. Is this normal?

    • DrJoe says:

      So sorry to hear about your sore throat. It is unlikely for your throat to be sore this many days out from being intubated. Especially since there was no mention of a difficult intubation.

      However, given the fact that your surgery was in the same area (at least on the outside) of where your sore throat is, I would discuss the pain with your surgeon. Hopefully, you will be seeing them soon for your postoperative visit. He or she can look in your throat to see if there is any further treatment that you need.

      Please let us know what happens. Thanks for your question.

  16. Janice Myers says:

    My mother had a heart attack at 11:00 a.m. at 9:30 p.m. her breathing was extreamly labored…At 9:45 p.m. they sent us away so they could put in a breathing tube…With our permission. At 10:01 p.m. her heart stopped while trying to plac the breathing tube in and she died…This was 3 days ago. 2-15-13. I am so heart broken, I am still in shock.Please tell me what could of happened???Please!!!

    • DrJoe says:

      Janice……So very sorry to hear that your mom has passed away. And since it was so sudden, I can’t even begin to imagine how you are feeling. Hopefully you have other family and friends surrounding you to help you through this sad time.

      I know you want an explanation as to what transpired in the hospital, but the best person to ask would be the physician that was in charge of your mom’s care. I don’t want to give you any guesses and lead you in the wrong direction.

      Please know that we are thinking about you and your family…..

      • Janice Myers says:

        Dr. Joe, Thanks so very much, I truly appreciate you responding to me. The physician that took care of my mother said the chemo treatments she had been having in the past 6 weeks really weakened her heart. She had cancer she was fighting…Cancer in her uterus, cancer in the cervix, and in the pelvic wall. She was in the fight for her life, and I guess her poor little heart couldn’t take much more…My family and I are doing okay, but we didn’t think we would loose her that day…We were not ready, we would never be ready. It all happened so fast!
        I really couldn’t think that day…She suffered so much with the pain of cancer. It really wasn’t my mom, as she loved life so much. She was fighting so hard and never missed a treatment, even as sick as she was. Doctor also said she must of had an underlying heart condition, as well as chemo made her heart weaker.
        Thanks so much for getting back to me.
        Blessings, Janice

    • Dr Dave says:

      I would like to echo Dr. Joe’s sentiments and extend my heartfelt condolences as well. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

      It would be unfair for us to guess what happened (especially with such limited information). As Dr. Joe mentioned, the best place to start getting the answers you need are with the physicians taking care of your mom.

      Dr. Dave

      • Janice Myers says:

        Dr. Dave, Thanks so much for getting back to me, I really appreciate it! My mom they say had a weakened heart for chemo treatments. She was still going through radiation and chemo at the time she passed. She had cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and cancer in the pelvic wall…She was in the fight of her life, and her heart was weakened by the chemo the doctors told my sister and I. It was just all so sudden and so terribly sad…I know she is at peace and out of pain, I just thought we had more time…I never thought a heart attack would be the way she went…She was only 66.
        Thanks again!

  17. Diane says:

    Back in 1999 I had developed ARSD and was put on a Vent. I was told that a few days I bite down and broke some thing. My husband was there and found something to put between my teeth and needed to be reintubated. I was on the vent for 10 days. What did I do?

    • DrJoe says:


      Thanks for your question. It is very difficult to say exactly what happened in 1999 without more information. However, it may help to describe a typical scenario when someone is intubated and placed on a ventilator.

      If someone is intubated in the ICU, there is a need to keep the breathing tube in proper position. Many times this involves a kind of “chin strap” for lack of a better term. Also, the person may have a “bite block” in their mouth. This is to keep them from biting down on the breathing tube, which can kink the tube or keep air from flowing in and out. In worst cases, the teeth can cause damage to the breathing tube or it may become completely dislodged from the windpipe / mouth area.

      This means that the tube will need to replaced (“reintubated”). Perhaps this is in the realm of what happened to you during that time. I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting!

  18. Bob says:

    I had TURP surgery 3 days ago. I was told nothing about a tube in my throat. But my throat was extremely sore. For 24 hours I could hardly swallow. Second day was’nt much better? Today (3rd) day is some better. So why does it make throat sore sometime and not other times??

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Thanks for your question and I am sorry to hear about your sore throat.

      To answer your question, there are several reasons why your throat may be sore after one anesthetic but not after another. Sometimes one anesthesiologist may have an easier time placing the breathing tube. Secondly, you might have had a laryngeal mask airway (LMA) placed for one of your cases instead of a breathing tube. One procedure might have been longer than the other, meaning that the breathing tube was in place for a longer period of time.

      Did the anesthesiologist mention anything to you or your family after the case? If someone has been a difficult intubation, I will mention it to the family so that future anesthesiologists can plan accordingly.

      I hope this helps. Let us know if you find out more information.

      • julie kostin says:

        I had a black eye when I woke up after hvin knee surgery what could have caused this?

        • David Draghinas says:


          That is strange and NOT typical. Did you ask the nurses and doctors there what happened?

          Only thing that comes to mind is that something (some piece of equipment perhaps) might have been accidentally dropped on your eye. I hope your vision is OK.

          Dr. Dave

  19. Matt says:

    I just had a cardiac ablation surgery and they put a tube in my mouth and it still hurts how to i treat this?

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Sorry to hear about your sore throat. If your throat is sore due to the breathing tube, it should resolve over a few days. If it lasts longer than a week, I would let the doctor know. In the meantime, I recommend using a throat lozenge such as “cepacol” lozenges. These can help numb the throat for a bit and provide some relief. Hope this helps.

      By the way, if the anesthesiologist mentioned that you were a difficult intubation, see this post as well.

      Talk to you soon.

  20. Rachael says:

    Will something as simple as t tube surgery require intubation? As its only a minor surgery

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Thanks for your question. Honestly, the answer is that “it just depends.”

      The anesthesiologist’s job is to keep you as safe as possible. That may mean that in your situation, having a breathing tube during the procedure is the best option. I have intubated patients before for procedures only lasting a few minutes. And for the same procedure on another patient with different issues, I did not place a breathing tube.

      So it really just depends. Is there anything in particular that you are worried about? Let us know when you get a chance.

      • sierra says:

        I had a surgery done where they used a breathing tube and a piece of skin is torn in my throat and hanging it makes me feel like I am choking all the time what should I do about this

        • David Draghinas says:


          I am sorry to hear about this issue for you.

          It would be a good idea to talk to a physician and have them take a look at your throat. Your anesthesiologist may also have some more information for you, such as, if there was any difficulty placing your breathing tube. This information may prove valuable if you ever have surgery and need to have a breathing tube placed again.

          Praying for your health and recovery,

          Dr. Dave

  21. Rachel says:

    Hi, I had septorhinoplasty 4 days ago and wasn’t told about a breathing tube prior to the op but as soon as I awoke I complained about my sore throat and the nurses told me a breathing tube had been used. 4 days on and I’m still suffering with a sore throat. It feels like laryngitis which I have had twice before! It’s so painful that initially swallowing was unbearable! I now have the worst cough and every now and then an intense tickle in my throat that causes me to cough uncontrollably for a few minutes.

    I am also now full of cold whereas I was completely well before the op. I am hoping the cough and sore throat will go in a couple of days but if not I will be speaking to my surgeon about this. I would have preferred the mask!

    • Joe Jackson says:


      I am sorry to hear about your sore throat, especially since you didn’t know this could happen. Did anyone mention that you were a difficult intubation? Sometimes a sore throat is evidence of a difficult intubation situation.

      One thing that might provide relief is to use Cepacol lozenges. Here in Texas, you can purchase them from a Walgreens or CVS. These lozenges can help with the sore throat.

      Hope you feel better soon.

      • Rachel says:

        Thanks Joe but I’m in the UK so I’m not sure I can get those lozenges here but if this continues I will go to the chemists.

        Nobody mentioned difficult intubation but I did notice that I had been in theatre nearly 2 hours when I should have only been an hour so perhaps this could be due to difficult intubation? I am still suffering with a terrible cough and cold. I feel like having the op has made me ill! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who has had these problems though.

        Thank You

        • Joe Jackson says:


          The fact that you were in the operating room (I always love how it is referred to as the theatre in the UK!!) for more than an hour is not unusual. Surgeons do their best to predict how long a surgery will take, but every patient is different. And if there were any problems, the surgeon would have mentioned them to you and your family at the conclusion of the surgery. So I am willing to bet that nothing out of the ordinary occurred during your case and it just took a little bit longer than expected.

          Doing a quick search, I found a popular lozenge in the UK called “Strepsils.” It is actually the same company that produces the Cepacol lozenge. Are those in your stores there? If you do use these and find relief from them, let me know. I will recommend them to other folks that visit the site from the UK.

  22. Karen says:

    I had surgery for an umbilical hernia on Thursday and a breathing tube was used. I had a slight sore throat upon waking up and was a bit hoarse. The sore throat and hoarseness has passed however I keep getting what feels like a sinus flare up. Basically, when I eat anything I have pain on both sides of the roof of my mouth (way back near my throat) that feels like my sinuses flaring up. It’s definitely a sensation I have felt in the past and is either sinuses or taste buds or something flaring up. In addition, my sinuses feel really dry and I was very stuffed up last night. Is this connected to the breathing tube possibly??? Did not have any of this before the surgery.

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Thanks for sending us your question. It does not sound like your sinus flare up is related to the breathing tube. Of course, the sore throat and hoarseness was probably a result of having an endotracheal tube.

      What is more likely is that the stresses of surgery weakened your body’s immune system a bit. This probably made you more susceptible to contracting a sinus infection.

      I hope this helps answer your question. Talk to you soon.

  23. I had an emergency appendectomy 4 days ago. A breathing tube was used during general anesthesia. Someone pulled the tube out of my throat very abruptly while I was in recovery, and this launched me into a major coughing fit. I have had soreness, throat congestion and a very, very hoarse voice ever since. It doesn’t seem to be improving. Should I be worried???

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your question, Lori Ann.

      It’s fairly common to have a sore throat for the next day or so after surgery. I would expect this to have resolved or be significantly improved four days later.

      It may be a good idea to see your physician and make sure there isn’t something else going on.

      Please keep us updated on your condition. I am pulling for your speedy recovery.

      Dr. Dave.

    • Theresa Uldrych says:

      I had a breathing tube pulled out very abruptly also and sick then for 2 1/2 years, I can’t seem to use a specific muscle to cough things that go the wrong way correctly. Extremely scary , and I dont know if this can be corrected if they ruined a muscle.

  24. Chevi daniels says:

    Hi I had double jaw surgery which took around 4.5 hours what I found strange was that my breathing tube was placed through my chin just by the neck and brought up through just under the tounge and fed Down the throat which require incisions. I have bad scar tissue now just below the chin and wonder why it wasn’t placed down the nose .

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Thanks for your question. Your surgery sounds very complicated.

      For head and neck surgery cases, the breathing tube is sometimes placed through the nose, as you mentioned. Other times, a tracheostomy may be planned. In this situation, the breathing tube is placed into a small incision in the neck while you are asleep.

      These type of surgeries require an open dialogue between the surgeon and anesthesiologist to plan for the placement of the breathing tube.

      I would speak with your surgeon. They can definitely answer your question about the breathing tube.

      I hope you have a speedy recovery.

  25. Taniesha says:

    Hello, yesterday I had surgery to remove a papilloma from my vocal cords and a breathing tube was used. They told me after the surgery that he had trouble inserting the tube and I can tell. The whole back of my mouth is bruised and red spots and my uvula looks like a layer of skin is peeling off and is very long and I keep choking on it. My throat is very sore still. Is this normal and will it take more then a day or two to get better from it?

    • Joe Jackson says:


      I am sure you are in a lot of discomfort right now. Thanks for sending us your question.

      I am glad that someone let you know that you were a difficult intubation. This will be important to let the anesthesiologist know if you ever require anesthesia again.

      It is not uncommon to have a sore throat after being intubated. And if the intubation was difficult, it is definitely more common for you to wake up with a sore throat. Difficult intubations are not rare in our practice.

      As for when your sore throat will go away, it is hard to say. But if it does not improve each day and is still present after ten days, I would see your doctor. In addition, if it worsens at any point, you should call your doctor.

      Please see Dr. Dave’s post on difficult intubations though which may provide added information for you.

      I hope you feel better soon. Please come back and let us know when things are back to normal.

  26. Crabby says:

    I would like to reassure everyone that despite being phenomally anxious pre knee surgery, it was brilliant (!). The surgeon inserted a canula in a room outside the opperating theatre and that was the worse bit, i quickly felt relaxed and remember being wheeled into theatre looking round fasinated, the next thing i knew i had a fraction of a wonderful dream and then I was aware again, but not totally conscious, there were kind nurses around me holding my hand. Apparently i had a breathing tube and was asked to pull it out myself, i have no knowledge of this or feeling of discomfort. I was in discomfort, not pain and given relief for this and wheeled back to my room.
    GA was great, much superior to any iv sedation i have had, and much preferable to any dentist. Seriously its never as bad as you think, go for it and feel better when your problem is sorted. Im so glad i did this!!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience! I’m glad it was a pleasant one.

      If you don’t mind, where did you have your surgery? It sounds like it may have been in the UK?

      Dr. Dave

  27. Lynda says:

    I had a breast lift with augmentation 5 days ago and was intubated. I had a mild sore throat that turned into very severe. My uvula is swollen and turned white and flaked off. It has gotten so painful I can’t eat solids and barely liquids. I already saw an ENT and he didn’t seem to concerned. I am on an antibiotic and pain med. what the heck could have happened? How much longer with this pain?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your question, Lynda.

      I’m sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. It sounds like you are taking precautions to make sure this isn’t something concerning (seeing the ENT, getting medicine, etc).

      Although there can be some throat soreness afterwards, being intubated isn’t typically this traumatic. If the anesthesiologist had some trouble intubating you (ie. you were a difficult intubation), then there’s a chance for a more traumatic intubation.

      It may be worth it to let your anesthesiologist know of your experience and ask if there was any trouble with the intubation. That’s information you would want to know and pass on to anyone else performing anesthesia for you in the future.

      I hope you feel better soon!

      Dr. Dave

  28. Kristine says:

    Wednesday I had a port put in and they told me I had a breathing tube. When I woke up my throat didn’t really hurt it was just dry but now it hurts to swallow. Sometimes it hurts worse than where I was cut open. Also I have a bump inside my mouth. Is that because of the breathing tube?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your question, Kristine.

      It’s not uncommon to have some throat soreness for the next few days after surgery and breathing tube placement. But this typically improves with time from the actual procedure.

      It sounds like your pain is getting worse, however. And the bump inside your mouth is not common.

      Things you can do include calling your anesthesiologist, telling him/her about what you are experiencing, and asking if there were any issues with your intubation. It may also be smart to have a physician take a look inside your mouth to get a better sense of what’s going on.

      I hope you feel better soon. Please let us know what you find out.

      Dr. Dave

  29. Karen says:

    Reading previous post, I only saw the mention of a bad taste mentioned once.

    Yesterday I had an MRI with sedation and was intubated for the test. I woke to only a very slight soreness in my throat, dry moth, a migraine, and worse of all a horrible taste in my mouth and horrible smell in my nose. Over the last 24 hours everything has resolved except for the horrible taste and smell and I have developed a productive cough with thick yellow sputum. Each time I cough the bad taste is intensified.

    I am one of the unfortunate individuals that is very sensitive to smells. I cannot tolerate most types of perfumes, no scented candles, and cannot even walk down the laundry supply aisle. Smells have an immediate reaction on me causing my ears, nose, and throat to burn. If I cannot remove myself away from the irritant I end up with a full blown respiratory/sinus infection.

    Right before being sedated I was handed an O2 mask to hold to my face. It had the same awful smell. The same smell was also present when I had to wear a nasal cannula in the past during a procedure.

    Could the productive cough and the constant sickening taste/smell of a chemical and plastic nature be caused by the ET tube? Is there anything to make me feel better and should I be concerned with the development of the productive cough and burning in my chest, nose and ears? I’ve ate, drank, brushed my teeth repetitively, rinsed out my nose, and gargled mouthwash.

    • Joe Jackson says:


      I am glad you asked these questions because I have not heard someone describe the taste and smell of plastic after being intubated. At first glance, I relate most of the symptoms (other than your sore throat and dry mouth) to your sinus infection.

      However, I can suspect that for you, it would not be a surprise that the endotracheal tube caused more irritation. With the aversions you have to smells, it is likely that even the slighest changes in your environment could irritate you.

      I would be concerned about the development of the productive cough and burning in your chest. But it would be very uncommon for this to be related to the actual breathing tube material itself.

      And I think you are taking the necessary steps to treat your illness. Also make sure you get plenty of rest and drink fluids to allow your body to recover. If you feel that you have a fever, your cough persists or worsens, or the burning in your chest does not resolve, please contact your doctor.

      Sometimes a “burning in the chest” feeling is a result of acid reflux from the stomach. This is common and may cause a bad taste in your mouth as well. Have you ever had trouble with heartburn or acid reflux?

      I will remember your story if I ever have a patient describe having this bad taste after being intubated. I hope this helps and that you feel better soon.

      • Karen says:

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. It has now been 3 days and the productive cough and burning in my chest are resolving, as well as, the bad taste and smell. I was not sure if it made medical since, but I truly felt my signs and symptoms were being caused by the taste/smell that I could not get rid of. Like I before mentioned, if I’m around perfumes and unable to get away from them I will get a full blown upper respiratory infection or a flare up of bronchitis. Thanks again for your response.

  30. tamika wilks says:

    Ok today i had the LEEP surgery doctor told me that there will be a breathing tube placed in my throat during the procedure..though everything was fine at first and i was discharged shortly afterwards with minor to little pain.when i returned home the pain finally set it.the right side of my gums on the lingual section is bruised from the tube and i also have some skin missing,not to mention when i swallow it feels as though im swallowing my legs are super sore and of course the section that has been operated on question is,,is it normal for my mouth to be this sore and released with no medications and also my legs even though the surgery was not performed on my legs?

    • Joe Jackson says:

      Thanks for trusting us with your questions. I am sorry to hear about your sore throat.

      It is not uncommon to have a sore throat for a couple of days after being intubated. I usually tell patients that they may have a sore throat, but that I do not expect it to occur.

      The good news is that it is rare to have any permanent damage to your throat after being intubated during an anesthetic. The tissue usually heals on its own without any specific treatment needed other than supportive care.

      I would recommend eating a soft, bland diet to minimize the irritation you are experiencing. Also, you can try using Cepacol lozenges which have some numbing effect on your throat.

      As for the soreness in your legs, this is unlikely to be related to the anesthesia. For these type of procedures, your positioning while asleep is very important for your surgeon. Without the proper positioning, the surgeon cannot do their best work. Sometimes this positioning can cause some soreness in the legs that resolves a few days.

      But there are many other reasons for leg soreness after surgery. If it persists or worsens, please let your surgeon know.

      Let us know when you start to feel better.

      • Kerry says:

        Hi I had a ct entroclysis yesterday … It was done while I was awake ( very mean but normal ) they sprayed a local anesthetiser in my nose and throat and put the tube up my nose down throat all the way through stomach and intestines and ran rods dies liquids etc through for an hour and a half it was awful he had trouble getting it down and took twice as long as normal apparently, (the whole thing hurt and i gagged continuosly on each new liquid etc) then when I had to walk! From the X-ray room to the scanner room I blacked out and had to be laid down once I recovered they continued. When it was finally over I hurt .. Everything even food and water hurt the whole way down to exit so I stuck with liquid today. Felt faint a lot and had a pain in my right shoulder blade / hip / lower back and what feels like nerve pain/discomfort / pin needle/ tingling/itching on my entire right side from head to toe now mostly gone but still pins needles in right hand arm leg foot and ear is burning hot inside and blocked on right side is this normal ? Part of the test they injected me with a muscle relaxer for bowels and some other poison that felt like lava to every single capillary. I called them they said if shoulder tip pain need to go to my dr but I called doc to ask and she hasn’t called back I assume its not serious

    • cindy says:

      Really a breathing tube for a Leep??. I had one 10 yrs ago in my doc office with some pre precedure relaxing drugs, but was awake with no pain meds at all.

      • David Draghinas says:

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Cindy.

        What kind of anesthetic (sedation, general anesthesia, etc) depends not only on the type of procedure, but also on the medical condition/history of the patient.

        For example, it’s not uncommon to do LEEP procedures with general anesthesia and an LMA.

        Sedation may not be enough for someone with a low tolerance for pain.

        These decisions are made after consulting with the patient, and the surgeon as well.

        All the best,

        Dr. Dave

  31. Kerry says:

    Hi I posted above … I also had a strange rash under my right arm ? The burning ear znd rash wouldn’t be sign of infection? I’m very prone to infection from past op experience. Also tingling feeling is in my right side of my face

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your posts, Kerry.

      It sounds like you’ve been through so much recently.

      If you continue to have pain and/or an unusual rash, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it. Please let us know if you learn anything else about what is going on.

      You are in our thoughts and prayers.

      Dr. Dave

  32. Amanda says:

    Hello! I am set to have gastric sleeve surgery in a few months and I am very anxious about having the breathing tube in, mainly that I will feel it upon awaking (my surgeon says I have to be fully awake before it is removed) and I will either bite it, gag, vomit, or have a panic attack. What measures are typically taken to avoid these things? Also, what is the average size of the tube? Is it larger than the average pinky finger? Thanks!

    • Joe Jackson says:

      Hi Amanda,

      Thank you so much for sending us your questions. The anxiety you are feeling is very normal and I think that a little explanation may help…….

      At the end of general anesthesia, the anesthesia medicines are decreased and you start to wake up. When the anesthesiologist is confident that you are able to “protect your airway” against potential aspiration, then the breathing tube is removed as the anesthesia continues to wear off.

      Without getting into all the details, I will tell you that it would be unlikely for you to remember any of this process. In fact, if by some rare chance you had any memory of the breathing tube, it is even more unlikely that it would bother you. This is because you will still have anesthesia medicines “on board” during this entire experience.

      The best way I can help is to tell you to talk to any friends or family members that have had surgery before. Ask them what, if anything, that they remember. When I had surgery, I didn’t remember anything. 🙂

      The breathing tube is about the diameter of an average pinky finger. That is a good analogy.

      I also encourage you to check out some other posts that address various parts of your question:

      Anesthesia for Lap Band Surgery as well as Obesity and Anesthesia

      Finally, I also recommend checking out 5 Questions You Should Ask Your Anesthesiologist Prior to Going Under.

      Hope this helps!

      Let us know if you have any other questions.

  33. Stephanie says:

    Hello! I have a few general questions about intubation. First of all, my 2 year old son has had 2 major open heart surgeries both of which required extended intubation times. His first surgery required almost 2 weeks total. He was extubated, and wasnt able to maintain adequate o2 levels, so he needed to be reintubated. Once we came upon the 10-12 day mark I was informed that if he wasnt able to hold his own in a few days he would need a trach. The second time he was intubated for roughly a week, but was able to wean fairly easily. When I questioned the possibility of a trach I was told that it is standard to place one if a person is not able to maintain proper o2 levels after 10-14 days of intubation. Can you tell me what the long term effects would be to being intubated for an extended period of time? Can long term intubation cause permanant lung damage? Also, my son was described as being very positional with his breathing tube, and had to have it taken out of his mouth and run through his nasal cavity, because every time he moved his head or body he would gag and or vomit. Why would one place cause a person to react that way and not the other?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      First of all, let me say that your little one and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. I’ve got a 3 month old little girl (our first), and I can’t imagine having her go through major heart surgery. I pray for the health and safety of your child, and for strength for you and the rest of your family.

      When patients (and especially little children) are intubated for extended periods of time, we start worrying about long term damage to the larynx and trachea. The pressures from the tube can start damaging the mucosa lining the airway and possibly the structures of the larynx. With time, this can turn into more severe and permanent damage, leading to the possibility of scarring and stenosis within the airway.

      When you mentioned his breathing tube was “positional”, my initial thought went elsewhere. The far tip of the breathing tube typically ends in the trachea (or the windpipe) above the carina (this is where the trachea divides into the left and right bronchus). If the tip ventures further down, into one of the main bronchi, only the lung on that side will get ventilated and oxygenated. If that occurs, we sometimes say the tube is “positional”.

      I imagine in a 2 year old, where the length of the trachea is much smaller, a significant amount of movement of the head and neck might cause the tube to slip into a less than ideal position.

      It may also be that having a tube run through the mouth, as opposed to through the nose and back of the throat, is more stimulating and causes more gagging and discomfort.

      I hope this information helps. Please let us know if you have any other questions. And keep us posted on how your little one is doing.

      Dr. Dave

  34. amanda says:

    I had my tubes tied recently. This was my first time ever going under. My wake up experience was terrible. Apparently I woke up too soon, and they were not paying attention to me. After 5 seconds of being awake I began to freak out because I could not breathe. I had no idea what was happening, and after struggling to brethe for what felt like forever I realized something was blocking my air way. I then start to pull out the thing in my throat. The man who had put me to sleep stops me mid way, and pulls the tube out the rest of the way. I could not catch my breath for about 10 mins, and when I gasp out that I cant breath, the man proceedes to tell me I cant breathe because I am a smoker. I will never go under again. I woke up in terrible pain, and struggling for air!

    • David Draghinas says:


      I am so sorry for your horrific experience.

      Though I know it won’t help you get over this ordeal, I’d like to let you know this is NOT the typical experience. Most people that have been intubated for surgery have no memory of the breathing tube and extubation (removal of the breathing tube).

      I’m sorry you had to go though that. Should you ever require surgery and a breathing tube (I know you don’t want to think about that), let your anesthesiologist know about your concerns, fears, and this painful experience. They should be able to put your mind at ease that your next experience won’t be like this one.

      Praying for your complete recovery,

      Dr. Dave

  35. Randy says:

    Put under for the first time for sinus surgery Wednesday. Ended up with a elongated uvula with a white tip on the end. It is now touching my tongue very uncomfortable. I heard that tube can do that and it should go away in two weeks, not happy its more annoying than the surgery I had on my face

  36. Karen says:

    I had out patient surgery on August 28, 2013 to repair a hole in my ear drum. Today I still can not complete a yawn or cough because something must have happened when the tube was down my throat during surgery. Also I sometimes have the feeling you get when something you swallow goes down the wrong way. Should I contact someone about this or will it go away? I don’t have a raspy throat, my problem is farther down.

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Sorry to hear about your throat.

      Did the anesthesiologist mention anything about a difficult intubation to you or your family? Sometimes this can be a situation that causes discomfort in your throat.

      However, if no one mentioned anything to you, the intubation was probably routine. For routine intubations, I would not expect much of a sore throat to occur. And if discomfort did occur, it should not last more than a week.

      In your case, I would contact your doctor if your throat discomfort does not improve after a week or if at any point, it starts to worsen.

      Hope this helps. Best of luck and let us know how things turn out for you.

      • Karen says:

        Thank you for your reply. Nothing was mentioned to me or my family about a difficult intubation, but I am going to pursue the issue. My discomfort is not in my throat, it seems to be in the middle of my back. I plan to call the doctor one week after surgery if it is not better. I worry something happened that could cause future intubations to be a problem, if they are needed if other surgeries are in my future.

  37. Jordynne says:

    Dr. Dave please help me. I had surgery about a month ago and when coming out of the anesthesia they said I clenched down on my tube so hard that I blocked my airway for several minutes. I ended up with negative pressure pulmonary edema. Is this something that will happen everytime I have surgery? I am supposed to have another outpatient surgery done soon and I am afraid of this happening again. Also, do you know why people clench on their tube?

    • David Draghinas says:


      Thanks for your question.

      It sounds like you may have experienced severe laryngospasm and subsequent negative pressure pulmonary edema.

      Rarely, when the breathing tube is removed at the end of surgery, the vocal cords can spasm into a “shut” position. As you know, this prevents oxygen from being able to pass into the windpipe, the lungs, and the rest of your body. Your chest muscles try to make you take a breath, but the vocal cords close off the airway. This can generate negative pressure in your lungs, and hence, the pulmonary edema.

      Anesthesiologists have several techniques to break this “spasm”.

      The laryngospasm can sometimes be caused by secretions, or blood, or fluid that trickles onto the vocal cords and irritates them as the breathing tube is removed.

      Just because you’ve experienced laryngospasm before does not mean it is going to happen again.

      My suggestion is to let your anesthesiologist know about that experience. He/she will then pay special attention to this issue at the end of your procedure.

      We are all pulling for you to have a smoother and safe experience with your next surgery. Please come back and let us know how you did.

      Dr. Dave

  38. Kim says:

    I had LAVH on 8/27/13 and upon waking had what I thought was a sore throat but it persisted for more than 3 days. I saw my PCP and he said I looked like the roof of my mouth had been bruised by the tube and since my teeth felt fine to see my dentist if it didn’t feel better in a couple of days. Needless to say, I had to see the dentist and he agreed that there was a contusion on the roof of my mouth. By this time, part of the roof of my mouth felt numb but the dentist said it should go away. Almost 3 weeks after surgery and the contusion is still there with some soreness and the right side of the roof of my mouth and gums on that side still are numb. Will it eventually be normal again?


    • Joe Jackson says:


      Thanks for sending us your question. So sorry to hear about the soreness in your mouth as well.

      Hearing your story makes me think everything in your mouth and throat will return back to normal. It is obviously just taking longer than expected. Did the anesthesiologist mention anything to you or your family about a difficult intubation?

      You are takng the necessary steps to make sure you heal appropriately including asking your question here, visiting your PCP, and following up with your dentist.

      Hope this helps. Let us know when the discomfort goes completely away.

  39. Megan says:

    Hey. I recently had lyproscopic gallbladder surgery where a breathing tube was used. It has been 9 days since the surgery. Since then I am not able to lay on my right side. When I breath I get a horrible pain in my lungs that radiates into my throat. I feel like even if I were able to stand the pain of breathing while laying on the side, my lungs wouldn’t let me get a deep breath. Is this a side effect of the tube ? I thought it would go away by now but it’s getting worse ech day. If I lay on the other side it’s fine. I also have that is constant but not too horrible around my left colavical. Thanks, Megan

    • Megan says:

      I also have a constant pain but its not too horrible around my left calivacle. (Is what the last sentence is suppose to say)

    • David Draghinas says:


      Having this kind of pain nine days after surgery, and the fact that it seems to be getting worse, sounds concerning.

      It would be a good idea to speak with your physician, let them know what you’re experiencing, and perhaps go in to be “checked out”.

      Best of luck to you. I hope you get back to normal soon.

      Dr. Dave

  40. Cammy says:

    I had breast surgery 9/20/13, 3 days ago. After awakening in the recovery room, I noticed that the tip of my tongue was numb. It still feels tingly, my surgeon said it was probably due to the breathing tube & lidocaine. Is numb tongue a typical side effect? Will it go away? My lip and front lower teeth are a little tingly too. It is a very strange sensation, not unlike dental work numbing.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your question, Cammy.

      If you are still feeling the numbness, it would be a good idea to speak with your anesthesiologist. They can give you details if there was any difficulty with the placement of the breathing tube and any other thoughts they have on the cause of your numbness.

      Lidocaine can cause some numbness (if it was used), but I wouldn’t expect it to last more than a few hours. Other possibilities include the position of the breathing tube, or perhaps, the use of an oral airway.

      I hope you are feeling better. Please let us know what you find out.

      Dr. Dave

  41. maribel zuniga says:

    My son just had oral surgery yesterday and they used a breathing tube in his nose, from the right side he was bleeding after the surgery and even when we got home, then early morning he was having think discharge today I looked inside of his nose and on the right side he can’t breath because is swollen, what can I do to helping he is 7 years old.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your question Maribel.

      I’m sorry your son is having some issues following the surgery. As you know, when surgery is done in the mouth, it sometimes becomes helpful to perform the intubation via the nose.

      While I can not give you any specific medical advice, what would be concerning to me is if there was continuous bleeding there. Other things that would be concerning is if this is causing any difficulty breathing and/or any fevers.

      With breathing problems you should seek immediate medical attention. And with any of the issues mentioned above, his surgeon should be updated about what is going on.

      I hope your little one makes a full recovery as soon as possible. Please let us know how his recovery is going.

      Dr. Dave

  42. Rama says:

    I had a D & C about 5 weeks ago and my jaw has been sore since. It hurts to open my jaw and is sometimes hard to chew. I think it might be related to the breathing tube? I wasn’t concerned for the first few days but it doesn’t seem to be getting much better. Could this be from the breathing tube? Will it get better? Is there anything I can do to make it better?


    • David Draghinas says:


      If you are still having jaw soreness, a could place to start is to speak with your anesthesiologist. He/she could tell you if a breathing tube was used, and if there were any difficulties with the placement.

      Many times, a breathing tube isn’t necessary for a D&C. An LMA might be used, for example. In that case, I wouldn’t expect the jaw pain and difficulty chewing. There can be some throat soreness, but typically not the symptoms you describe.

      Hopefully, you are feeling much better now. Please let us know what you find out.

      All the best,

      Dr. Dave

  43. Charlene says:

    Yesterday I had sinus surgery (right side)….awoke with a sore throat which has since almost disappeared. What I’m experiencing is a wet cough that seems to be coming from the upper part of my right chest and boy is it phlemgy and hurting. No issue before the surgery. I was going to call the doctor today but didn’t want to seem like a big baby…but I’m getting a bit concernerd.

  44. Taylor says:

    I miscarried for the third time, I had my third d & c on Wednesday. The two prior I recovered from well. This one however, has been a nightmare. The day of surgery I slept a lot so I didn’t feel much pain. I think I also had meds from surgery helping with pain. But the next day I woke up with a huge sore in the back of my throat with cuts around it and my tongue was swollen at the tip. It is now Sunday and I am in severe pain I can barely talk and I can’t eat. This obviously occurred from the breathing tube. I am a person that can handle pain and I am at a breaking point! My tongue has an ulster the right side of my throat has a huge sore and cuts and my right ear is in constant pain. Please help with what to do.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Taylor,

      I am sorry to hear your recovery has been so difficult.

      What you are describing is not typical. This does not sound like the usual “sore throat” that folks can get following breathing tube placement and extubation.

      It would be a good idea to see your doctor very soon, so that he/she can evaluate what is going and manage your care from there.

      I hope you get better soon. Please let us know how you do.

      Dr. Dave

  45. vanesa chollar says:

    My mom who is 80 had a procedure done on her back and suffered negative pressure pulmonary edema during intubation. She spent a week in the hospital under heavy sedation but is fully recovered now. I cant find a lot of info on this. My question is will she be prone to having this happen again or is it a fluke incident. I just don’t know whether I need to make her other doctors aware for future procedures

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hello Vanessa,

      Negative pressure pulmonary edema typically follows laryngospasm (vocal cords spasm “shut”) that can not be effectively treated. Although it is a rare occurrence, it is more often seen on extubation (removal of breathing tube). This is more likely to happen if something (secretions, blood, stomach fluid, etc) irritates the vocal cords.

      This does not mean it will necessarily happen again, however, it is a good idea to let your (future) anesthesiologist know about this event. If you can track down the anesthesia record from that procedure, even better.

      Best of luck to you and your mother.

      Dr. Dave

  46. Leslie Wood says:

    I woke up after lumbar surgery as they were taking the breathing tube out and was choking and coughing. Is this something that is suppose to happen? It was not pleasant.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Leslie,

      I am sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience.

      Most people do not have any memory of the breathing tube being removed after the completion of surgery. Rarely, if there was difficulty placing the breathing tube, the anesthesiologist may decide to remove the breathing tube only after the patient is “very awake”. This is an added safety measure to ensure that no problems occur with extubation (removing the breathing tube).

      You may want to speak with your anesthesiologist and let them know how you felt. You could then ask him/her if there were any issues with the placing and/or removing of the breathing tube.

      All the best,

      Dr. Dave

  47. Tiffani says:

    I have had several procedures/surgeries in the past 6 years that required intubation. My last surgery was in March of this year. Ever since then, I’ve been having choking and coughing fits. While I’m chewing food, I’ll involuntarily inhale and then start choking and coughing to get the food out of the trachea. It has happended 4 times since March and I’m a little concerned.

    My chronic condition will probably lead to more surgeries in the future. Should I see a ENT doctor about this?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your question, Tiffani.

      It sounds like you should see someone about this problem. Your primary care physician should be able to guide you about which medical professionals to see.

      All the best to you.

      Dr. Dave

  48. Pat says:

    I had lower advancement jaw surgery in November 2013. The breathing tube was inserted thru my nose. I was told that the tube somehow caught on my surgically separated lower left jaw bone upon being removed at the end of surgery. As a result, I was horribly bruised on my left side, had a terrible sore throat for over a week and experienced large blood clots expelling from my nose during the week after surgery. I did not complain nor bring this information to the attention of my surgeon. I just assumed it was normal. It is now 4 1/2 weeks post surgery and my left jaw is still very swollen. My right jaw is almost back to normal. I am very disappointed that I was not better informed. I feel that what happened is the responsibility of the anesthesiologist. I cannot understand how a tube got caught on my left jaw while being extracted if it were inserted thru my nose?!

    • Joe Jackson says:


      I definitely feel for you after hearing your story. You have gone through a lot.

      I want to provide better answers for you, but it is difficult without knowing the details of your case.

      However, in general terms, a person may experience a sore throat after a nasal intubation. This is because the breathing tube ends up in the same place regardless of whether it is inserted through the nose or mouth.

      The fact that you were told that the tube was caught on your jaw is complicated. Unfortunately, I cannot give you a good answer without knowing more about your surgery.

      Two things: I would definitely mention your soreness to your surgeon. And two, he or she may be able to put you in contact with the anesthesiologist that took care of you.

      I hope you feel better. Let us know how everything turns out.

  49. Stephanie says:

    I just had an umbilical hernia with mesh surgery and had to be put to sleep and had a breathing tube when I awoke there was blood on the top of my hospital gown and I can feel a pretty deep cut in the back of my throat is this normal? Could the breathing tube have cut my throat?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your question, Stephanie.

      It’s not uncommon to have some throat soreness following anesthesia with a breathing tube.

      It is possible that what you are feeling is related to placing and/or removing of the breathing tube. This can especially be the case if there was any difficulty with placing the breathing tube.

      If it continues to bother you, you could see your physician to further assess what’s going on. You could also speak with your anesthesiologist to see if there were any issues with the placement/removal of the breathing tube.

      Hope you feel better soon,

      Dr. Dave

  50. Laura says:

    On January 15, 2014 I had a partial laparoscopic hysterectomy and was intubated. When I woke up I expected to have a little soreness in my throat. The soreness lasted several days, the back of my head and neck hurt worse than the surgery (yes) and for several days I continued to cough up mucus. Now, I have had bronchial coughing for the last week and it has moved into a raspy sound in my left lung or bronchial tubes….unsure which as it is funny sounding when I breathe. Could all of this be the result of intubation or some infection that I just picked up? I have been at home since the surgery and not exposed to anyone. Is it easier to get an upper respiratory infection after anesthesia? Thank you!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your question, Laura.

      It would be pretty unlikely to get an infection from the intubation. It is possible to have picked up an infection at the hospital, elsewhere, or simply have been in the early stages of an infection prior to your surgery.

      I hope you feel better soon. Be sure to see your physician if your symptoms don’t improve and things get worse.

      Dr. Dave

  51. megan dunmire says:

    I had a surgery on wednesday to check m y ovarys. today is saturday and I still can’t eat. My uuvula is swollen and I have a lot of bruise like spots on the top of my mouth by my uvula and on the backside as well. I can’t eat or drink anything cause it hurts so bad. I just want to cry nothing seems to help and my ears are now hurting.

    • David Draghinas says:


      I am sorry you are hurting so much. That is not what typically happens after intubation.

      It may be a good idea to have your doctor check things out and check with your anesthesiologist to see if there were any issues with placing and/or removing your breathing tube.

      Dr. Dave

  52. Lou says:

    I had a tube for an umbilical hernia repair, and I can’t get over the way my mouth looks and feels. My mouth and lips are very bruised. My upper and lower lips are just one big fat lip, like I’ve been punched. I have scratches on the roof of my mouth, and I can’t get over the extreme sore throat I have. What happened? I will definitely talk to my doc about this during my followup.

    • David Draghinas says:


      I am sorry to hear about your experience as well. Again, this is not the typical results following a breathing tube for surgery.

      It may be a good idea to have your physician check things out. And also, talk with your anesthesiologist to see if there were any issues with the breathing tube during your procedure.

      Dr. Dave

  53. Lou says:

    Thanks for the response Dr. I’m a little disappointed with the anesthesiologist. I feel she had no regard on how I’d feel the next few days. The whole procedure went well other than my fat lips, mouth scratches, and extremely sore throat.

  54. Ray Baker says:

    I had hernia surgery, last Thursday, and a breathing tube was placed down my throat.
    Now, one week later, I am still experiencing some hoarseness and raspy voice. Is this normal?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Sorry it’s taken me a few days to respond, Ray.

      A sore throat from the placement and removal of a breathing tube typically does not last this long.

      It may be a good idea to get this checked out by your physician. I hope you feel better soon. Please let us know how things go.

      Dr. Dave

  55. Jennnifer Jansen says:

    Hi. I had General Anesthesia for a D&C/Hysteroscopy this morning. My meds just wore off and my throat is very sore. Very red with patches of darker red and abrasions. What concerns me is small white cyst on side of throat (not on tonsils so doubt tonsil stones etc.). Could that be from the trauma of the breathing tube? How long can I expect it to to last?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks for your question. The typical sore throat from a breathing tube lasts about a day or so. The white cyst you are describing is not typical after intubation.

      If you are still noticing it and having difficulties with a sore throat, it may be a good idea to have your physician take a look.


      Dr. Dave

  56. Alysa says:

    Hello, I had an emergency D&C after extreme blood loss yesterday. My two complaints about the breathing tube was that I just felt a lump on the inside of my mouth by my upper teeth (maybe its from how they positioned the breathing tube on the inside of my mouth?) And also I have a very sore and painful chest when I take a deeper breath or need to cough. Is this normal, as I just had this surgery done yesterday?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your comment, Alysa.

      Sometimes there can be some lumps and bruises that occur from the breathing tube, especially if the placement was more difficult.

      The breathing issues you describe can also happen after general anesthesia. What tends to help is deep breathing exercises and good coughs. Of course, if you develop any fever and/or your symptoms do not improve be sure to let your doctor know.

      Hope you feel better soon.

      Dr. Dave

  57. Shawna says:

    I hadca surgery for a ovarian cysts removal on Thursday march 6 th today is the10th I still have a big lump in my lip from the tube begin forced down my throat, will this lump go away, it big and kinda solid, what can I do to get rid of it.. It looks really bad, please help. .

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Shawna,

      I’m sorry to hear about the lump on your lip. If this is something that was not there before the surgery, it was likely caused by the placement or removal of the breathing tube. Although not common, trauma to the lips, teeth, or inside the mouth and throat can occur with a breathing tube.

      Like any bruise, it should go away with time. Hope you feel better soon.

      Dr. Dave

  58. Hi Doctors

    First, thanks for your great site. I just had my gallbladder out and was curious to learn more about the anesthesia process and found your page.

    When I woke up properly, back in my hospital room, I discovered I had a fat lip. It was discoloured and swollen on the lower left side, and was numb too. In fact, my surgery was Monday, and although the swelling is gone, I still don’t have full feeling back in it yet (Sunday). The anesthetist did come and see me after surgery but I was still very groggy (I got very sick after surgery so took a while to come round properly) and so couldn’t ask about my lip.

    All I can find online is stuff about teeth being knocked. Clearly that’s not what happened here. My question is, what is likely to have happened? And if I need surgery again, should I bring it up in the hopes it doesn’t happen again? I know it’s minor in comparison to the gallbladder wounds I’m healing from, but it isn’t pleasant to deal with because it affects eating and drinking.

    Thanks so much.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad this site has been beneficial to you!

      Your anesthetist should be able to give you more information on exactly what happened. If there was any difficulty placing the breathing tube, there may be some bruising or swelling of the lips as well. Your anesthetist would be able to tell you if that was the case.

      The good news is that the pain, swelling, and numbness should go away with time. Should you need surgery again, you could mention it to your anesthetist. We always like to know if there have been any issues in the past.

      Praying for your speedy recovery,

      Dr. Dave

  59. Suzie says:

    I have a strange question. I have a HUGE fear of being tubed. I am obese and have sleep apnea. I MAY have to have gallstone surgery soon. Is there any alternative like a cpap like device or running the tube in my nose so it would not have to be in my mouth? Please help me if you can. The fear is making me more likely to put off surgery longer than I should. The more I read the worse it gets. Please tell me there is an alternative. Thank you so so much…

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Suzie,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, for gall bladder surgery, a breathing tube has to be used. Gall bladder surgery, because it occurs inside the abdomen, requires muscle relaxation and controlled ventilation with a breathing tube. This is actually the safest way to perform this kind of surgery.

      I’m sorry this isn’t the information you were hoping for. When going in for surgery, let the staff and anesthesiologist know about your fears. They will be able to talk you through everything and provide anti-anxiety medicine if necessary.

      All the best,

      Dr. Dave

  60. Jill says:

    Crazy long story but I am of ill health had a total pancreatecomy with auto islet cell transplant 3 yrs ago because of hp. I’ have terrible malabsorption despite being in enzymes plus still pain it took years to diagnose me they took body parts till a doc in Tucson finally figured it out I’m in wi!! No uterus overies gallbladder appendix ect this last surgery was 16 hrs no problems I was on heavy doses of oain meds and still am on some narcotics to slow down motility ( gastri emptying off them was 15 min from mouth to out) anyways I had a test for blood in my urine yesterday they said 10 min top he could do in office or surgery center well after all the poking and priding I’ve gone through and continue to go through I opted for center! He intimated me not sure why he said from the get go probably worried because of the narcs I would be hard to put to sleep I do believe that’s in my file from egds etc I can see cuts 2 or 3 on left side beginning of throat never had this I’ve had over 10 surgeries was this just sloppy work it hurts like hell haven’t slept a wink funny thing I’m scheduled for yet another egd today so he can look for me lol any suggestions? To heal it?

    • David Draghinas says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience, Jill. It’s hard to say why that happened without knowing more.

      Usually time allows your body to heal itself over several days with sore throats caused by breathing tubes. Cough drops or throat lozenges can also provide some temporary relief. I hope you feel better soon.

      Dr. Dave

  61. Krystal says:

    I have had several surgeries in the past. But this is the first time i think I had a problem with the breathing tube.. I woke up and my mouth was very numb and DRY! I have never had this dry of a mouth in my whole life. This lasted for at least 24 hrs. I couldn’t eat much because I couldn’t even get food to go down my throat without taking a big drink to help it along. The day after my surgery I could only eat wet foods. I tried eating some bread, and it was instant burning sensation. It felt like putting jalepeno peppers on an open wound.. The anesthesiologist never mentioned anything about complications… I plan to ask the dr at my post op to see if he knows… I’m just hoping I can eat soon..

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hello Krystal,

      Have you gotten any more answers about your dry throat?

      Sore throat following surgery with a breathing tube is pretty common. And sometimes the throat does feel dry. The last time I had general anesthesia, I remember “waking up” in the recovery room with a very dry throat. I felt much better once I was able to have some sips of water and ice chips.

      I hope your sore, dry throat is improved by now.

      Dr. Dave

  62. Charlotte Thomas says:

    Hello, I had a d&c done all most a week ago. I was told a tube was placed down my throat but they had a difficult time inserting it there. They did send me a letter to be used in case of future surgeries. My throat was very sore for days and I was barely able to talk. It still feels a little strange, but I can swallow.

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I am sorry you had to deal with a sore throat after your procedure. Sometimes anesthesiologists encounter difficult intubations. For more information, see the article on difficult intubations. Hope you are having an otherwise uneventful recovery.

  63. Hi, I had a gastric sleeve surgery 6 months ago and am still having problems with my voice. I have had general anesthesia 4 other times and had a sore throat following surgery , but this throat problem was far worse than the gastric surgery! The surgeon told me that I was a “difficult intubation”. I could barely talk for 3 weeks out and was told “that happens sometimes”. OK, but 6 months I would think should be good. I am a member of a choir and still cannot sing like I did prior to anesthesia. Also, I answer the phone all day long and have a scruffy, hoarse voice all the time. Do you think this will get better and should I see an ENT specialist? I’m not happy with the way the surgeon brushed it off because this is NOT normal and I am NOT happy! Thanks for your views!!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hello Margaret,

      Thanks for posting your question. I am sorry to hear about the difficulty you are still having 6 months after surgery.

      That certainly does not sound “normal”. You could try to speak with the anesthesiologist that took care of you, to see if he/she has any more insight into the symptoms you are experiencing. But visiting with an ENT is also a good option. After talking to you and getting all the details of what happened, they should be able to give you a better idea of what you are dealing with here.

      It may also be a good idea to obtain the anesthesia record from that surgery. There should be a note about where the anesthesiologist found difficulties and exactly what they did for you. This may help the ENT figure out what’s going on.

      Hope you get back to normal soon. Please update us when you get more information.

      Dr. Dave

  64. Jooles says:

    I had an Gyne operation under a general anaesthetic and woke up with the tune still in situ. I panicked and was banging my arms/hands legs against the bed in panic. They tried to calm me down but I thought I was dying. That was on March 31, it’s not May and I’m finding Iv had problems finds feeling like I’m hyperventilating (but I’m not) I just feel like I am not getting enough air into my lungs. I also feel like set hung is blocking my airway when I bend my neck Dow to my chest. When I go to the gym and exercise I struggle to keep my breathing right. My chest feels like I have a chest infection but I don’t and I’m not coughing but I am constantly trying to clear my throat…what is wrong? I am thinking about visiting my gp but not sure, thanks jooles

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Jooles.

      I am sorry you had such a traumatic experience. That is certainly not typical.

      Because you are having coughing and breathing issues for such an extended period of time following your surgery, it may be a good idea to visit your physician.

      He/she will be in a good position to take a detailed history of your symptoms, know your past medical history, review your medical record regarding your surgery and anesthesia, and hopefully give you a good idea of what’s going on.

      All the best to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Please come back and share once you get more information.

      Dr. Dave

  65. Mike F says:

    I had surgery on Friday. They gave me anesthesia and inserted a breathing tube, which jacked up my throat. The feeling was a sore throat x5, which was very painful and made it very difficult to eat. Now, five days later I still feel one of the cuts in that area which makes it literally impossible to eat still. It doesn’t feel like it has healed at all and I’ve taken 2 Percocets which didn’t help. Still can’t eat. What do I do?

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Sorry to hear about your sore throat. It may take a couple of weeks for these areas in your throat to completely heal. In the interim time, I would recommend using Cepacol lozenges for some relief. These tend to help. Also, watch out for any bleeding from your mouth or fever. These would be additional concerning signs that you should notify your doctor about. Did the anesthesiologist tell you that it was difficult to place the breathing tube? If not, and you should ever have surgery again, please mention that you had a really sore throat to the anesthesiologist. This will help in their planning for the case. Hope you feel better soon.

  66. Barbara Haynes says:

    When the doctor was going to remove gallbladder he had the anesthesiologist go down my larynx with the oxygen tube to provide me with oxygen, but when he tried seems like something in my larynx tube would not let him. Like a flap of skin got in his way and I started bleeding so they had to stop the surgery. What could have been the problem and should I go see an ENT doctor?

  67. Ben Uchytil says:

    My surgeon said they had to temporarily stop my colectomy three times in order to allow the anesthesiologist to recalibrate; each time, I had begun to ‘fight’ to breathe on my own. Why would this happen?

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Thanks for your question.

      General anesthesia is a combination of amnesia, unconsciousness, analgesia, and paralysis.

      Depending on many factors (type of surgery, patient medical history, length of procedure, surgeon preference), a patient may require different levels of muscle paralysis.

      This paralysis is in addition to unconsciousness, amnesia, and analgesia.

      So it is likely that the medicines given to keep your muscles relaxed had to be readministered.

      This is not a complication or unexpected situation in a case such as a colectomy.

      We have to balance the depth of surgical paralysis throughout the case.

      Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions.

  68. Danielle says:

    I had revision to my breast reconstruction about 6 days ago, & the surgery went well. When I came out of surgery, the first thing I remember is screaming that I couldn’t breath and feeling that I couldn’t draw a breath. Nurses had an oxygen mask on me and kept telling me to breath through my nose, and as I became more coherent, that’s what I did. They exchanged the mask for the tubes that go in your nose and all seemed well. A bit later, I was washing my face and notice extreme pain at the back of my jaw and down my neck. Alarmed, I reported this to my nurse. She told me that when the surgery was over, I bit down on the breathing tube and cut off my air supply. Once they got the tube out, she said I was “too sleepy” to breathe, so they had to “move my jaw”. She assured me that this was normal & not to worry. The next day, I asked my surgeon, and he told me a similar story, but said that the anesthesiologist had to hook his thumbs under my jaw and move it forward to open it and that’s why it hurts. He also said that this is normal and nothing to worry about. I guess it’s just that I was asleep during all of this that makes me uncomfortable, or maybe that they didn’t feel like they needed to tell me about it, or the fact that I’m still in pain… So I’m wondering- is all of this normal, was it dangerous, is it normal to not report it to patients, and how long should I be in pain for before I go to a dr about it? Thanks!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Danielle, thanks for sharing your experience and concerns.

      It sounds like there was some difficulty during your extubation (removal of the breathing tube). Some patients can bite down on the breathing tube as they wake from anesthesia. I typically place an oral airway in the patient’s mouth at the end of the surgery to prevent this from happening. I also keep that oral airway in the patient’s mouth after removing the breathing because, occasionally, there may be some “breathing difficulty” at that transition as the breathing tube is removed.

      This inability for the patient to breathe adequately can be due to different reasons, and it can also happen with an oral airway or nasal airway in place. If that’s the case, the anesthesiologist needs to assist the patient and sometimes that means performing a “jaw thrust” maneuver. It sounds like this maneuver was performed on you.

      I don’t think the soreness from that should last more than a few days. If it does, you could have your physician check it out.

      If you are still concerned with what happened, you could contact your anesthesiologist to get the full story of what happened. If you do, I would also ask if there were any issues with intubation (placing the breathing tube) and if you were a “difficult airway”.

      Hope you are feeling better,

      Dr. Dave

  69. Larry says:

    hello Dr. Dave I have a question to tell you I had Surgery in my middle air because of the infection and they had too place air tube down my throat they had hard time my doctor told me too sallow and so I did and now after my surgery they removed the tube before I woke up and when I was in ICU and woke up another doc gave me orange juice in which is bad ok and week passed healing fine and now im getting shortness of breath, I never had that before and im getting mad before I had Surgery I was breathing really good very normal and now this happened, please help!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Larry,

      Thanks for sharing your story with us.

      It would be very unlikely that shortness of breath a week after surgery is directly related to the anesthesia. But it’s definitely something that your personal doctor should check out.

      Please get in contact with your physician and let us know how you are doing. Praying for your complete recovery.

      Dr. Dave

  70. Mallory says:

    Monday 7/21/14 I had day surgery to get my gallbladder out. I know I had a breathing tube in during surgery and like many others woke up having major breathing issues and crying. I was able to catch my breath eventually and was told to expect strep throat like pain for the next few days. Tuesday almost exactly 24 hours after my surgery I had an incident where I could no longer breath. My mom had to help me walk and around and did everything she could to get me to breathing normally . I then burped a few times and was quickly able to catch my breath. My throat had been feeling similar to strep throat. Later that evening I threw up and now I have a very uncomfortable feeling in my throat. I can’t tell if something is stuck or if it’s continued strep throat like pain. I’m afraid of falling asleep because I think I may choke. I’m wondering if this sounds like anything in particular? Will the feeling in my throat go away?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Mallory.

      What you are describing is NOT typical sore throat pain after a breathing tube. That type of mild soreness would not be causing shortness of breath or an inability to breathe.

      If you are continuing to have these types of symptoms, it would be best to go see your doctor immediately so they can evaluate what’s going on.

      You are in my thoughts and prayers. Please come back and let us know how you are doing.

      Dr. Dave

  71. sue says:

    Dear Dr. Dave,

    I had breast cancer surgery a few years ago and the only complication was the right side of my mouth under my tongue was very sore. I healed quickly but my mouth continued to hurt and swell and I started feeling really ill. I went to my surgeon and he told me to go to my dentist. When I went to my dentist he told me the anesthesiologist had nicked my mouth so badly he had scrapped my jaw bone and that within a week a chip of my bone would emerge. I took antibiotics and eventually the bone chip came out and my mouth healed. Four years later I have a lump on my jaw line on the other side of the bone. The x rays do not show anything wrong with my teeth ( I had a root canal in the tooth directly next to the lump and everything look fine). I’m concerned the injury to my jaw bone has caused long term problems. Have you ever heard of this happening. Could it have caused an underlying infection to my jaw bone?



  72. Carol Myers says:

    I actually just had back surgery on for a ruptured herniated disc on my back yesterday. They had to use a breathing tube and when I awoke there was a little gouge on the inside of my lip that was slightly swollen. Then I woke up this morning and it seemed a bit more swollen and now I notice a gouge in the back of my palette. The swelling is not going away and Im curious as to how long it would take for the swelling to go away and how long before I contact my physician about this? I did a warm-water/hydrogen peroxide rinse tonight and there seemed to be a lot of debris that came out and it stung and fizzed horribly which I believe means theres some infection. After the rinse I did a warm water with a bit of salt rinse to stop the stinging and it worked. Am I doing the right thing? Any more advice? Im thinking maybe I bit my lip during surgery? Thank you so much for this forum, this was my first surgery experience (at 37 years old) and I was scared half to death….

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Thanks for reaching out to us. Hopefully this surgery has started to help you with your back pain.

      Injuries to the lips and / or soft palate can occur during intubation. It is not routine for these to occur and thankfully, they are rarely permanent injuries. But they can happen.

      It is difficult to predict which patients may be more challenging to intubate under all circumstances. If you ever require surgery again, though, I would mention your prior experience to the anesthesiologist taking care of you.

      In the meantime, however, you are doing the right things to help mend your throat! If it has not improved by this time, I would certainly contact your physician.

      Let us know how you are feeling….

  73. Penny Barber says:

    I had gallbladder surgery on March 6,2014 I was talking fine before surgery. I woke up and couldn’t speak. I cannot speak above a whisper still and it is now August 4. I have seen numerous ENT and voice specialist and been to speech therapist. I have lost my job since fmla ran out and I still cannot speak. Drs do not know other than vocal chords are spasming and back of throat folds on top of them when I try to speak. Anyone else been through this? What are my legal rights?

    • Joe Jackson says:


      I am so sorry to hear about the problems you are having with your voice. This must be a scary experience.

      This far out from your surgery, I would definitely recommend you continue to see an ENT physician if you are having problems with your voice.

      Perhaps one of our fellow commenters could recommend a great ENT physician in your area.

      This is obviously a serious issue but one best suited for a vocal cord specialist.

      I would be interested to hear if this has happened to anyone else as well.

      I wish you all the best. Please let us know what happens with your voice.

  74. Penny Barber says:

    I had gAllbladder surgery March 6,2014 and talked fine before surgery. Woke up and couldn’t speak. I still can’t and it is now August 4. I have been told my vocal chords are spasming and the back of my throat collapses on top of them when I try to speak. Numerous ENT and voice specialists and speech therapist have not been able to help. Will I ever be able to speak above a whisper? I lost my job because fmla ran out And I can’t speak. Has this happened to anyone else?

  75. Mary Lindsay says:

    I had carpal tunnel release under general anaesthetic six weeks ago. When I got back to the day ward the theatre nurse told them to monitor my oxygen levels as I was coughing a lot in recovery and I was not to be allowed home unless my oxygen level was higher than 91. I was coughing all the time and could hear and feel rattling in my chest when taking a deep breath. For the next couple of days I was very sore around my rib cage and had problems breathing. After four weeks I started experiencing pain under my left breast again around the rib cage I was unable lie down or change position. I went to my GP who asked if I had a general anaesthetic and when I said yes he said I had an ulcer in my throat which was causing the soreness and the earache also there was some crackling in the lungs. He prescribed antibiotics and steroids for the cough and sent Mr to get a chest xray. The result only came back yesterday and showed there was some fluid in the left lung. I am still off work as I still have a dry hacking cough which is causing problems with sleeping and lying down and I still have breathing problems especially after walking. I saw the surgeon yesterday and he thought it was caused by my gerd but the Gp says it wasn’t. I had the same surgery last year on the other hand again under general anaesthetic and was back at work after a couple of weeks . Could there have been a problem with the anaesthetic.

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Thanks for sending us your question. Difficulty breathing can occur in the immediate post operative period. However, for a short general anesthetic, it would be uncommon for this shortness of breath or cough to last beyond a few hours.

      I want to be able to tell you whether or not your symptoms stem from any part of the anesthetic. Without knowing the details of the anesthetic used, though, it is difficult for me to give you a great answer. Other than to say that I wouldnt anticipate that these continued symptoms would be the result of an uneventful, short duration, general anesthetic.

      My best recommendation would be to see if you could speak with the anesthesiologist who took care of you during surgery. Please let me know if you need any help navigating through the system if you cannot get a hold of the anesthesiologist.

      Talk to you soon. I hope you start feeling much better.

  76. Megan says:

    I had a fairly traumatic recovery from a general anaesthetic. I suffer from anxiety and asthma and all of the medical staff had knowledge of this. They can bring one another on in bad situations and creates a spiralling effect making a bad situation worse.
    I recently had my upper wisdom teeth removed and was only under anaesthetic fir 20 minutes. Upon waking I found myself choking and struggling to breathe. I needed to ‘cough something up’. I had an aray of nurses and doctors around. One each side holding me down as I had begun to thrash around in panic even though it was extremely hard due to still being affected by the anaesthetic. My anxiety got worse and I simply couldn’t breathe. Until the took the breathing tube out of my throat, I felt like I was going to die of suffocation. The more i panicked, the less i could breathe, the more i panicked and so on The anaestheslogist arrived, gave me something in my cannula and suddenlt I took a deep breath, and the tube was removed. I instantly calmed, the nurses let go of restraining me and all was well.
    Later on I was told that I wasn’t given enough medication to bring me from the anaesthetic fully. My lungs were too weak and I couldn’t breathe. I had a sore throat and lost my voice for four days and even drinking water was like swallowing needles.
    A bad experience and one I won’t forget in a hurry.

    • David Draghinas says:


      So sorry to hear about your traumatic emergence from anesthesia.

      I pray for your full recovery, and should you ever need anesthesia again, my hope is that you will have a smooth experience.

      Dr Dave

  77. Cynthia says:

    I recently had surgery, got my tubes tied and also had a breathing tube down my throat. It’s been 5 days already since my surgery and my throat doesn’t feel any better. It hurts REALLY bad when I eat or drink anything. I went to see my doctor today and he says it’s normal and it will go away in a couple of days. It’s been 5 days already and I have a lot of pain. My throat is more in pain than my insicion! The only thing that helps me sorta it’s pain killers. I hope my throat heals before I ran out of pain killers because I can’t handle this kind of pain for along time, especially wih 4 kids having to take care of.

    • David Draghinas says:


      I’m sorry to hear about your horrible sore throat. I hope it is feeling much better by now.

      All the best,

      Dr. Dave

    • Brian says:

      I had open heart surgery a couple years ago. one thing I remember most about the experience is waking up with a tube down my throat. I temember a nurse telling me I would have to wait an hour until I am stable enough to breath on my own before they could remove the tube. it was a long hour and my wrists were strapped down. The nurse said I had awakened earlier and reached for the tube. They put me back to sleep. Why not put me back asleep again rather than suffer for a whole hour?


      • David Draghinas says:

        Hi Brian,

        Part of the issue with removing the breathing tube is making sure you are strong enough to resume breathing on your own. Hospitals have several ways of gauging this and the medical term for this process is called, “weaning from the vent”.

        Unfortunately, they can not perform this assessment when the patient is under significant sedation. That’s why they likely couldn’t just “put you back to sleep”.

        All the best,

        Dr Dave

  78. Nichola says:

    Hello my daughter was put under general to have an MRI (she’s only 4) everything went the way I expected but since then she has had a cough and it’s been 3 weeks now and I’m starting to worry as she’s not really eating now either. Any help would be wonderful. Nichola

    • David Draghinas says:


      Sorry to hear about your precious little one. I hope she’s doing much better.

      If not, I would treat this just as you would any other significant cough. If she has a fever, or any trouble breathing, be sure to let her doctor know and seek medical attention.

      She’s in my thoughts and prayers.

      Dr. Dave

  79. I just had surgery yesterday and woke up with the worst sore throat I have ever had in my 54 years on earth. Today, I looked in the back of my throat and there are 2 very dark red spots with white in the center, They are right around my uvula and I am still sore. What caused those spots and the pain.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Lynn,

      Not sure what caused those spots and the pain that went with it, but that is not the typical sore throat after a breathing tube.

      If that issue hasn’t resolved yet, it may be a good idea to have your physician take a look.

      Dr. Dave

  80. Lisa says:

    I had a breathing tube during my surgery recently(3 weeks ago), for a ruptured appendix, that ruptured in february.I had a normal touchy throat for a day, nothing out of ordinary, BUT, I noticed later that night(about 4 hours after surgery) that my left ear became very hot internally, and it suddenly came on, and lasted a few minutes, and then gone.Not so much as in “pain”..just a building up of heat, like it was going to fire.It has been now 3 weeks, and it is still happening.I had anitbiotics here that I took, for about 5-6 days, thinking it could possibly be an ear infection, but yet, it is not deep into my ear, at all, but rather, just inside the beginning of the canal, on the upper portion.The heat seemed to slightly subside, while taking the antibiotics, but now after 4 days or so, of no anitbiotics, is returning to have more intensity and heat. When I clean my ears, with a qtip..there is no pain whatso ever, but my left ear feels “numb” in that area, just slightly on the inside ? I am wondering if there are nerves that run there from throat, and if during intubation this can occur? Absolutely nothing different that day except my surgery. Is this commom?

    • David Draghinas says:


      Thanks for your question and sharing your experiences with us.

      What you are describing does not sound like a typical reaction to intubation or having a breathing tube. My guess is that your symptoms are not directly related to the breathing tube.

      There are some antibiotics that have side effects related to “hearing”. If you are still experiencing these symptoms, it may be a good idea to speak with your physician.

      Praying for a full recovery…

      Dr. Dave

  81. jerry kueker says:

    hi d.r. Dave my name is jerry and I had averry bad back surgery last year in Aus. They out a tube in me because I was on my stommch for over 8 hrs. When I woke up I had no soreness at all anywhere, maybe I’m just lucky.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Jerry,

      It’s nice to hear when things go well, too. This happens most often, but folks are less likely to let us know about it.

      Best of luck to you,

      Dr. Dave

  82. Kat says:

    In January I went in for a routine endoscopy which I’ve had done before. I received propofol. When I came to I had doctors & nurses telling me to take deep breaths through the oxygen mask. I was told they couldn’t do the procedure because they had to put a breathing tube in. My BP & Oxygen levels dropped very low. The nurse said, I almost crashed. The only thing on my medical report said, bronchospasm.

    I went again in April to repeat the procedure and told the anesthesiologist what happened last time. He gave me a breathing treatment before the endoscopy. Well, it happened again. They intubated me! The doctor said, when ever I have other procedures done I need to tell the anesthesiologist they have to intubate me.

    I can’t get any answers. I’m not sure what’s causing my problem. Is it the propofol or the endoscopy.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for sharing this traumatic experience, Kat.

      I don’t think the propofol is causing your bronchospasm. Bronchospasm can occur (especially in folks with reactive airway disease) as a result of some kind of stress. In your case, it sounds like the stress is the endoscopy. And now with the trouble you’ve had, you are probably stressed just in anticipation of the endoscopy.

      What may help is to optimize any asthma/reactive airway issues PRIOR to your procedure. This would be done with your primary care physician and may require “maintenance” medications. Breathing treatments on the day of the procedure may also be helpful. And maybe even some anti-anxiety medicines prior to your procedure may help deal with your stress of this happening again.

      Continue to give your anesthesiologist all of this detailed medical history. I am hopeful and praying that you will get through smoothly the next time.

      All the best,

      Dr. Dave

      • Kat says:

        Thanks so much for your response. The second endoscopy I had done the anesthesiologist did give me a breathing treatment before the procedure. But I still started to spasm and again had to be intubated. The problem is. The hospital doesn’t have what happened on the medical reports. My primary physician finds this strange especially when they said I almost crashed because my oxygen levels and blood pressure dropped dramatically. They only told me whenever I have any procedures done in the future to tell them I need to be intubated. Don’t you think this should be in my records or maybe I should have some thing in writing from the Gastro doc?

        • David Draghinas says:

          That is strange, Kat.

          There should be documentation of what occured on the anesthesia record. Sometimes, this document is difficult for lay people to discern, but the info should be there.

          Best of luck,

          Dr. Dave

          • Kat says:

            It seems strange to me too..Before my second endoscopy was done I told the anesthesiologist what happen with my last one.He seemed very puzzled because it wasn’t in my chart so he went on the computer and it wasn’t there either.I don’t know what to think of this.It wasn’t in my Primary physicians records either. In the future I have to have surgery on a deviated septum. Do I need to worry about my oxygen and blood pressure dropping so low that they have to put a breathing tube in?

            • David Draghinas says:

              Hi Kat,

              For surgery on a deviated septum, it is standard procedure to have general anesthesia with a breathing tube in place.

              But I would mention your history of asthma attacks and difficulty breathing to your anesthesiologist. An important thing you can do to minimize the risk of any attacks with future procedures/surgeries is to get your asthma under the best control possible.

              This would mean working closely with your primary care doctor to determine if any maintenance medicine needs to be added/adjusted, avoiding asthma triggers, etc.

              Dr. Dave

  83. Colleena says:

    I’ve had surgeries before with General anesiasia and have never had an issue from the breathing tube. HOWEVER, I had surgery earlier today (Removal of a tumor) and my throat has been killing me! So sore, super dry mouth, can hardly swallow food, and have a very raspy voice. I had my neighbor drive me to get lozenges but they really don’t help much. Just checked it tonight, now I have what looks like yellow patches or pus all in my throat. No idea how to handle this…

    • David Draghinas says:


      I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties this time around. What you are describing sounds like more than the typical sore throat that can happen with intubation.

      This sounds like there may be some kind of infection brewing. This sounds like something where a physician should take a look as soon as possible to see what’s going on and determine the right course of treatment.

      Hope you feel better soon.

      Dr. Dave

  84. Tarrah says:

    I had a tonsillectomy done 5 days ago. The healing process has been much better than expected. My only question is in regards to a tickle in my throat that causes a dry cough. No matter how much I drink it doesn’t seem to go away. Could this be from intubation and are there any ways to help it?


    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Tarrah,

      That tickle could be related to the breathing tube. It may also be related to the tonsillectomy.

      If it doesn’t get any better soon, you could ask your physician to check it out.

      Dr. Dave

  85. sarah says:

    hi my name is sarah i just had surgery and when i woke up my tongue is numb its been two weeks and its still messed up. i think when then put the tube in my mouth something happen in the surgery room they are not telling me. cause when i was put in the recovering room i heard a doc tell another doc the i came in with a red face and was choking. i don’t know why they didn’t tell me that and why is my tongue still numb i am having trouble eating what i like and cant taste all the way and i cant kiss my boyfriend they way i want to. and if i talk long times my tongue gets tired and hurts.

    • Joe Jackson says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Sorry to hear about your discomfort.

      It is possible to have a sore throat even after a routine intubation or LMA placement during general anesthesia. Rarely there can be injury to the lips, tongue, teeth, or palate.

      But in the majority of cases, besides dental damage, the situation resolves in the timeframe of a couple of weeks.

      Since your tongue numbness is not improving at this point, it is time to call your surgeon. He or she can guide you with the next steps to help you get better.

      Come back and let us know what happens.

      Hope you feel better soon.

  86. mary says:

    before they put me under with anesthesia and tube, the dr. said he wasn’t sure if he would have to cut or not that they were doing a surgical mri first, well they ended up not cutting me, just put my arm in a cast, but they still put me under….and ever since i have had a bad sore throat, very heavy breathing and my chest is killing me. i guess its vital to always get ur medical info from family before something like this, so…now mom says that when i was about 7 yrs. old she took me to the dentist and they use that gas on me, well i got bad sick and passed out, i felt real hot, nauseated, so sick. so im just wandering if im allergic to it.
    also have some hard pulling my stomache. real weak.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Mary,

      We wouldn’t be able to diagnose a true allergy to anesthesia over the internet. But that is very, very rare.

      What is more common however, is to have nausea/vomiting and a sore throat after surgery or anesthesia.

      I hope you make a full recovery soon.

  87. Pat says:

    Hello, my husband had a 3 hour operation three weeks ago to have a stent graft put in after finding an aortic aneurysm. The operation went well but since then heis constantly clearing his throat all day and at night wakes up with a choking sensation. Could the anethesia tube have caused some damage?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Pat,

      The typical sore throat seen with a breathing tube and anesthesia does not last more than a few days.

      If your husband is still having those symptoms, he should consider seeing his physicians. Although rare, a traumatic intubation could possibly cause some of those symptoms.

  88. buyingthetruth says:

    I am about to have an open heart surgery soon, to correct an irregular heartbeat (after failed ablations) and have never had any anxiety with the breathing tube after any of my 3 previous surgeries. However, when I read about this procedure to be prepared, it states that you will be in the ICU for 24 hours and have the breathing tube still in and will be removed when you are able. Be prepared for this, but you will still be able to communicate, etc. even if you cant talk. Will this be as comfortable experience as possible, or do a lot of patients sit there consciously trying to deal with a breathing tube in their mouth? Thanks

    • David Draghinas says:

      If a breathing tube is in place, you will typically be sedated. The goal is to remove the breathing tube as quickly as it’s safe to do so following your surgery. So hopefully, it won’t be in place that long.

      Please come back and share with us your experiences. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

      Dr. Dave

  89. Kim Lawre says:

    I had a septum repair done during the summer. Everything was fine until they woke me up. I could ‘t breathe, I couldn’t move, my lungs just didn’t work. I layed there struggling to move any part of my body so I could alert anyone to my predicament, but nothing happened. I actually said to myself, “you’re going to die here” and then did something I haven’t done since I was 3 years old-I peed in the bed. It was out of sheer terror.
    Then I heard someone say, “get the tube out,” and I was extubated. I had a very hard time catching by breath afterwards, , they gave me oxygen. I don’t know how my throat was because I was just so grateful to be able to breathe.
    This was my fifth surgery in my life, I’m never going under again! I ‘m going to get a copy of my surgical records, just in case. I traumatized.

    • David Draghinas says:


      So sorry to hear about your traumatic experience. This is not typical.

      But it’s a very good idea to get a copy of those medical records. All the best.

      Dr. Dave

  90. Treece says:

    I had surgery on Friday that involved General Anesthesia. I noticed that there is a gash in my lower right gum area, two sores inside my right upper lip area and I know that it happened during anesthesia but I cant figure out how. I also didn’t have congestion prior to surgery and I feel like there is a crackling and wheezing sound coming from my throat. Is that normal? This is my 6th time being under anesthesia and I have the throat/chest soreness that comes from the tube.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Treece,

      Gashes and sores are not typical. You may want to speak with your anesthesiologist to see if there were any difficulties.

      Dr. Dave

  91. lindadarby says:

    I had surgery yesterday, my throat is so sore I can barely swallow liquids or food.I am also coughing up blood clots in green mucus.Have sadly had many surgeries in the past 7 years, never had this before.I will try to see my GP if it doesn’t improve.One of my nurses said a gel was used on the tube as I experienced a really salty taste which has now gone.

    • David Draghinas says:

      It sounds like this is something more than the typical sore throat from the breathing tube. It may be a good idea to see your GP.

      Lubricating gels are sometimes used to facilitate placement of breathing devices.

      All the best,

      Dr. Dave

  92. Debra McKinney says:

    I had a bladder hydrodistention with botox done yesterday. When I woke up they told me it took 4 tries to get the breathing tube in. My throat was hurting bad but today when I tried to get up I could hardly lift my head and the rest of me up. My throat, jaw and chest is beyond the worst pain. I can barely open my mouth. It hurts to swallow. My hands are also numb. I did gargle with salt water. I wear a duragesic patch for my health issues with interstitial cystitis. They gave me a script for oxyocodone and nothing is helping. Any suggestions? Thank you.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Debra,

      I’m sorry you are having such a difficult recovery following your procedure. It sounds like you may have a complex medical history. It’s best to coordinate your recovery with the physicians that know your medical history best.

      Besides your recovery, it is concerning that you had a difficult airway. If you haven’t already done so, it would be wise to obtain a “difficult intubation” letter from your anesthesiologist. You can find a standard letter linked in the article below:

      You can print the letter by clicking on the link at the bottom of that article and have your anesthesiologist fill it out. Then be sure to show that letter any time you need anesthesia in the future.

      All the best,

      Dr. Dave

  93. Jenny says:

    My husband had surgery Wednesday. While they were putting the tube in he quit breathing. The tried 3 more times, and he stopped breathing one more time. They finally decided to do a spinal on him so they could do the surgery on his knew. My question is..does this happen often..what do we do next time?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Jenny,

      It sounds like your husband may be a difficult intubation. If that is the case, it’s super important he notify his anesthesiologist before any kind of anesthesia.

      I suggest you check out this article I wrote about this topic:

      At the bottom of that article you’ll find a “difficult intubation letter”. I suggest you print it out and have this last anesthesiologist fill it out. In that letter, they can detail exactly what the problems were. You should then take that letter and give copies to any anesthesia provider he has in the future.

      I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but this can be a life and death issue.

      All the best to you and your husband.

      Dr. Dave

  94. Larry says:

    hello im Larry and I had some breathing problems you can say shortness of breath, I never had this problem before I went had Operation they place a tube down my throat for surgery and now after they done that I cant breath right anymore it has been 1996, when it start happening please help, I don’t smoke or drink,

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Larry,

      It sounds like your breathing issues have been going on for quite some time. One of the best places to start would be to schedule an appointment with your physician, tell him/her what’s bothering you, and let them know about this medical history with this operation.

      All the best you you.

      Dr. Dave

  95. The M.D. says:

    Hi Dr. Dave,

    I recently had a hysteroscopy with iv sedation and my dr saw something that looked like uterine septum (a tiny one). She wants to schedule another surgery to remove that septum and ny other polyps i might have in the uterus. That surgery is going to be in DEC. It will be under General anesthesia. I am freaking out abot the anesthesia. Are they going to intubate me? Surgery is abot an hour. Would it be safe?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Anesthesia is very safe for the vast majority of mostly healthy people.

      Whether or not you will be intubated depends on your anesthesiologist, after reviewing your medical history, speaking with you, and examining you. The most likely scenarios is that you will either have a breathing tube or an LMA.

      Try not to stress too much (easier said than done) and focus on having a great, candid conversation with your anesthesiologist. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

      Dr. Dave

  96. Sue says:

    Hello, I had back surgery and they used a breathing tube in me. My problem after surgery was that my jaw hurt terribly as if I were clamping down on that tube with all my might during the whole surgery. My teeth felt strange for several days. I could hardly eat, I couldn’t feel my teeth. For many months after surgery my teeth are still sensitive and hurt. They are better now, but it has been 14 months ago that I had surgery. There are still sore teeth. I had asked the doctor about it at the time and she said some people do bite the tube. Does this seem normal to have sore teeth after so long? Do you think that is what happened? Could I have been aware of the tube during surgery?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Sue,

      What you are describing is not typical after general anesthesia with a breathing tube.

      While it is possible to bite down (on the breathing tube or oral airway), this is most likely to occur either as you “fall asleep” or as you are “waking up” from anesthesia.

      And I would imagine that type of soreness to last only a few days or so. It may be a good idea to see your personal doctor to check out your symptoms.

      All the best to you.

      Dr. Dave

  97. Jan Ezell says:

    I had gallbladder surgery on Monday. I had a slight sore throat but nothing of significance. The day of surgery I noticed a clicking in my right jaw joint which seems to have gotten progressively worse. At times it hurts a lot, and at other times not as noticeable. Trying to eat this evening, I was only barely able to open my mouth. Will this go away quickly or should I contact my surgeon?

  98. Jamie-lee says:

    Hi I underwent day surgery yesterday under general anaesthetic I was told before surgery that I would have a breathing tube put down my throat and was also told it would be taken back out out when I start to come round. Other than feeling a slight pain when I swallow I have no recollection of the tube being there and I don’t remember it being taken away! The first thing I rememeber is waking up in the recovery room with an oxygen mask on! I would say the sorest part was my hand after the drop was removed!
    People need to realise that these procedures are done to protect you and potentially keep you alive! Yes it might be uncomfortable etc but it is what has kept you here today, the tube definitely outweighs any sore throat in my opinion, give it a few days and it will be gone!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

      It truly is amazing how anesthesia has advanced the field of surgery in the last hundred years. Imagine all the surgeries that simply wouldn’t be possible to perform without anesthesia.

      And anesthesia has gotten very safe as well. So much so that the worst complaints from many that undergo surgery might be nausea or a sore throat.

      Dr. Dave

  99. Amy says:

    I had some bad complications from my surgery a few days ago. My throat was scratched and my uvula was damaged to the point where it was swollen and had a weird whiteness growing on it. I can feel it dangling in the back of my throat. But the most painful part has been my tongue. It has lost feeling and has had bad pain since the surgery. Not sure if they were too rough pulling the tongue out or if it got caught between teeth and ventilator. I am worried that the feeling won’t come back in my tongue and I will have nerve damage forever. Will the feeling come back? It’s awful I can barely talk and it’s so uncomfortable. Will the uvula go back to normal? It feels all stretched out!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Amy,

      It sounds like you have several issues going on. Besides the typical sore throat from intubation, it sounds like you may have an infectious process going on. You may want to have your physician take a look if it hasn’t improved.

      Some patients can experience numbness of the lips or tongue after surgery. This can be due to direct pressure (on the tongue, for example) by either a part of the breathing tube or an oral airway that is placed.

      This usually goes away with time. Hopefully, that is the case with you.

      All the best,

      Dr Dave

  100. Tiffany says:

    Yesterday I had a an evacuation of retained products of pregnancy after a silent miscarriage. It’s only a 5-10 min op. Would I have had a breathing tube placed for this? I woke from the op with a very sore throat and a painful sore on my lip. My lip is worse today and looks like it has been caught in something, there are two puncture wounds. My sore throat feels like it has moved to my tonsils today, really hope I’m not getting a dose of tonsillitis

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Tiffany,

      For this type of surgery, I will typically use either an LMA or a breathing tube. There are certain “patient related” reasons that would keep from using an LMA and opt for a breathing tube. Some of those reasons include significant heartburn and/or obesity.

      For whatever reasons, it does sound like you had a breathing tube placed for this procedure. I hope that you feel better soon.

      Dr Dave

  101. Krysta says:

    Hi, I’m having a ganglion cyst removed from my hand soon and my surgeon says it would take 20mins or more. .. I am being put under with general anesthesia. Im scared more about the breathing tube than anything. Any suggestions to calm myself before surgery? I have GAD and depression.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Krysta,

      Know that for the vast majority of healthy people, anesthesia is very safe. Let the health care providers know on your day of surgery that you are very anxious. And certainly let your anesthesiologist know.

      They will do everything they can to make it as smooth and comfortable an experience as possible.

      I’m keeping you and your procedure in my thoughts and prayers. Please come back and let us know about your experience.

      Dr Dave

  102. Carole F. says:

    Hi, I recently underwent a small surgery (wisdom teeth removal). About 30 minutes before my surgery, I met with the anesthesiologist and oral surgeon who told me about what they would be doing and all the steps they would take to ensure my comfort and safety. Despite this, they forgot to disclose that I would be put on a breathing tube. I woke up extremely confused as I’m sure most people that undergo general anesthesia do, with the worst sore throat I’ve ever had, cuts all over my lips from presumably a device holding my mouth open and, my own blood covering my lips and nose. Some two days later, none of the pain has alleviated from my throat and I’ve done everything the nurse told me to. Keeping hydrated and taking the occasional cough drop. Any other tips for helping my throat before I could see a doctor? I’d like to avoid another visit as much as possible. Thank you for any and all help! 🙂

    • Carole F. says:

      I’d also like to say that I realize that the breathing tube is necessary and I’d rather have a sore throat than not be able to breathe. I’m simply looking for tips on how to cure a raw throat.

      • David Draghinas says:

        Hi Carol,

        Thanks for sharing your experience.

        Unfortunately, sometimes time is the best cure for a sore throat. It sounds like you are already trying the throat lozenges. For me, a nice cup of tea seems to soothe a sore throat.

        I hope you are feeling better.

        Dr Dave

  103. Crystal says:

    I had an EI placed in me 9/4/2014
    As I was undergoing repeated c-section. 30 seconds to a min after I was given the spinal anesthesia I started complaining that I couldn’t breathe and I stopped breathing that was the reason for EI. It is now been 4 months after my accident and I still have throat voice is hoarse one day it will be good and 3 days after it will become hoarse boyfriend says I moan at night,it’s dry all the time I’ choke at night time. Doctors told me it would be better after a week from it being removed and I have no luck

    What can be wrong?may I have damage ?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Crystal,

      This sounds like it could be more than the typical sore throat seen after intubation.
      Very rarely, damage to vocal cords can occur when a breathing tube is placed. It would be a good idea to speak with your physician. He/she may then refer you to an ENT surgeon for further evaluation.

      Dr Dave

  104. Barbie says:

    My son went to catch lab and was put on a breathing tube. His O2 level was a little low and it looked like he was gagging. After catch lab he was very sick and was having a hard time breathing and hold his O2 levels even on the vent. I wondered why this was happening. Two days later his was still on the vent not holding good O2 levels. They punctured his left lung put an IV in his shoulder and his left lung collapsed and it was full of fluids. And they told me the reason was his breathing tube was put in to far down so they adjusted it. I asked how long was it down too far and they said only for a few minutes. But that didn’t seem correct to me because of him not being able to hold his o2 levels needless to say he went into cardiac arrest. They managed to revive him and fix the tube and we have not had any other issues. Is it possible that the tube was puttin in incorrectly before he went to cath lab and that’s why he was having so many issues. Now I’m afraid he may have other issues now because of the lack of O2..

    • David Draghinas says:


      I am very sorry to hear about your son and the medical difficulties he’s been having.

      From the information you’ve provided, all I can do is give you a couple guesses as to what MIGHT have happened.

      First, it sounds like he was very sick to begin with. It also sounds like there were multiple issues contributing to his inability “to breathe”, even on the ventilator. Having a lung collapse can certainly be problematic, especially if the pneumothorax created is large. You mentioned there was fluid there as well; this further complicates things and contributes to his breathing difficulties.

      The breathing tube being “too far down” is a separate issue. This should not have anything to do with the lung collapse. When patients have a breathing tube in the ICU, the breathing tube can become improperly positioned (eg. the patient moves, pulls on the tube, etc). There are ways to check the position of the breathing tubes, including listening for breath sounds and getting a chest x ray.

      I can not say with any certainty what happened. My guess is that the breathing tube moved too far down at some point later in his care, likely related to his time in the ICU.

      Your son is in my thoughts and prayers.

      Dr Dave

  105. Alex says:

    Hello there,
    So yesterday I went into surgery for a circumsition. When I came too I had a sore throught and when I asked about it they explained that I had breathing tube insurted to help me breath. I had time to take a nap while I was in recovery and I awoke to the sound of me snoring which I never do. This morning when I woke up and I still have the sore throat and when I take a deed breath a feel a slight pain in my chest as a result of it and I also felt like something was stuff in my throat so I tried hacking it out and the felt it sitting on the back of my tounge. I checked in the mirror and noticed is my uvula but it’s inlongated and looks very droopy. Is this normal and if so will it go back to how it originally was? Thanks for taking the time to read this!

  106. Alex says:

    Hello there.
    I just recently had surgery and I was put under. Soon waking I had a sore throat and it was explained to me that it was due to a breathing tube put down my throat. I was put in the waiting room when I was able to nap and I was awoken by my snoring which I’ve never done before . I also felt something in my throat I tried hacking and i felt it sitting on my throat and I npticed it was my uvula. It looks very long and hangs longer than normal . Is this normal ? And if so when will it return to its regular size?
    Thank you.

    • Joe Jackson says:

      Hi Alex,

      I am so sorry it has taken this long to respond to your question. I hope by now that you are feeling better.

      It is not uncommon to have a sore throat after being intubated with a breathing tube. It is less common for there to be damage to oropharyngeal structures such as the uvula, though. And it is rare for any damage caused by the intubation process to be permanent.

      A swollen or enlarged uvula can cause abnormal sensations when breathing, talking, and swallowing. But it should return to normal after a short period of time. If you feel that your uvula continues to remain enlarged, I would definitely see an ear, nose, and throat surgeon for further evaluation.

      Please let us know how you are doing.

      Dr. Joe

  107. christine says:

    My 15 year old son went in to have a surgery on his shoulder because he was in a snowboarding accident, we were told he would need to have a breathing tube put in because he would be under for at least 2_3 hours. I really didn’t think much of it because I have had surgery and had a breathing tube. But after 3 in half hours the doctor came out to tell me they had some complications with the breathing tube, the breathing tube was pushed to far down into his throat and went into his right lung causing the left lung to deflate which caused his oxygen levels to go way down. They pulled the tube out a little and his oxygen levels went up but they will now need to take xrays of his lungs and stay in the hospital longer then expected. Can anyone tell if this normal or why this would happen?

    • Joe Jackson says:


      Great question. When the anesthesiologist placed the breathing tube in your son’s windpipe during general anesthesia, the breathing tube became “right mainstemmed.”

      Your windpipe (trachea) divides into a left and right bronchus in your chest. Each bronchus is the conduit to its respective lung. Ideally the distal end of the breathing tube that we use stops prior to the takeoff of the right and left bronchial tubes. Sometimes, though, the breathing tube will end beyond the split of the bronchi and end up in one side or the other (more commonly the right mainstem).

      Although not usually preferred during general anesthesia (unless you are undergoing a chest surgery), right mainstem intubation can occur. Not identifying a right mainstem intubation in a timely fashion can be detrimental. However in your son’s case, it sounds as if the anesthesiologist diagnosed the problem, corrected it, and took the necessary steps to help your son improve.

      How did he do during the hospital stay? I hope the shoulder repair went well and that his breathing is back to normal.

  108. Mike says:

    Thyroglosil duct/cyst removal and I ripped out out breathing tube upon awakening. Cause? Blood and mucus today. Can’t swallow pills. Any relief?

    • Joe Jackson says:

      Hi Mike,

      Sorry to hear about your sore throat. It is not uncommon to experience a sore throat after being intubated during general anesthesia. It usually resolves on its own over a few days. One thing that I think provides good relief is to use Cepacol lozenges which can be found at the pharmacy. These are numbing candies which really help with the soreness. Try these and see if they help.

      • Mike says:

        Thanks, I’ve had several surgeries and always have a sore throat but this time they said I pulled the tube out myself. Have cuts on my face and bruises from them holding me down. Also a blessing throat. What causes this? We’re they not monitoring me correctly? They said they would wake me then remove the tube and I tild them that wasn’t a good idea but they said hospital policy.

  109. Judith evans. says:

    I have crowns and implants in my entire mouth. I am scheduled for shoulder Rotator cuff surgery. I will not get a local and be under general anesthesia. I will require a breathing tube. Do I need to worry about my teeth?

    • David Draghinas says:


      Hopefully, if you haven’t yet had your surgery, make sure to share your dental history with your anesthesiologist.What is more concerning to us is loose teeth or anything that is easily removable in the mouth.

      I hope you have a smooth experience.

      Dr. Dave

    • David Draghinas says:


      Hopefully, if you haven’t yet had your surgery, make sure to share your dental history with your anesthesiologist.What is more concerning to us is loose teeth or anything that is easily removable in the mouth.

      I hope you have a smooth experience.

      Dr. Dave

  110. vanessa sanders says:

    I had a 360°, anterior & posterior multilevel lumbar discectomy and fusion with antetior and postetior instrumentation, and thoracic kyphoplasty on 12/11/14. When I came to in the ICU I had a VERY, VERY fat upper lip on the right side. It was even fatter on the inside (super ball size) and I repeatedly had to spit out hugh chunks of skin. It hurt like the dickens, despite having a PCA pump and despite the pain from 3 incision sites. Was this caused by the intubation?
    Thank you

  111. Sharon says:

    5 years ago at age 64 I was a pack a day smoker and decided to quit because I was of having coughing and breathing issues. Just quitting helped, but 2 years after quitting I developed some female problems with my uterus falling. In consulting with an area physician she recommended surgery. The day of the surgery we arrived at the hospital around 6 AM, checked in and I was prepared for the surgery which took place around 8:30 AM. Met with the Doctor and anesthesiologist just prior to the surgery. Both were aware of my being a former smoker who has some breathing issues. The surgery lasted 2 1/2 hours and during the surgery they placed a tube down my throat to help me breath. After the surgery the anesthesiologist informed my husband and daughter that she had removed the tube prior to my waking and that my heart had stopped so she had to reinsert the tube again and that they were transferring me to ICU and it could be quite awhile before they wake me up. They kept me sedated for about 3 hours and I remained in ICU for the next 3 days. Shortly after waking in ICU they gave me some breathing test and determined that I had COPD and that I would have to consult with a pulmonologist and wouldn’t be allowed to leave the hospital until I had an oxygen unit. It was surprised me that I was able to walk into the hospital on my own, including not being on oxygen and that when I left the hospital I was in a wheel chair using oxygen and I’ve had to use it 24/7 every since. I can’t walk from the chair to the bathroom (maybe 15 steps) without stopping to catch my breath. A simple bath takes me 1 1/2 hours. My question to you is it possible that the removing the tube to early and reinserting again have caused some type of damage that would have increased my need to be put on oxygen earlier than had I not had the operation? Thank you, Sharon

  112. Ruth W. says:

    I am scheduled for a catheterization on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 to have 2 ASD’s closed. I was told i will be put under general anesthesia. I developed bronchitis 10 days ago. I have been on antibotics, steroids and cough syrup. My lungs are still very congested. I have notified the surgeon performing the procedure however plans are proceeding. Is it safe to have anestheia if my lungs are congested and I am continuing to cough?

  113. Beth Oram says:

    I have an urgent question for the anesthesiologists: I am due for tracheal reconstruction surgery in 2 days and am told I will remain intubated in the SICU for 24-48. I am terrified. I am afraid I will panic. I am afraid I will be given paralytics and won’t be able to move. Can you please reassure me and tell me what to ask my anesthesiologist? Many thanks.

    • bubbabru says:

      beth…..this is after the fact and I am curious as to how you did. I live in fear of having to have this done again.

  114. bubbabru says:

    I had open heart surgery 4 years ago. I knew I would wake up with a breathing tube. However when I did, I immediately became claustrophobic. It was ALL I could think about. Plus being trapped to a bed made it worse. I ended up having a stroke that night in ICU. Can a stroke be brought on by panic and stress?

    Now they are talking about another surgery and in all honesty, I could deal with it all BUT the “tube”. It is like enclosing a claustrophobic up in the trunk of a car. Are there any options to a breathing tube other than simply holding your breath for 8 hours 🙂 ?

    Jack Jack with a Panic Attack!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Jack,

      Most surgeries do not require leaving in the breathing tube and going to the ICU after surgery. In most cases, the breathing tube is removed as the patient is waking up and you have no memory of it.

      Depending on the type of surgery and your medical history, there may also be the option of an LMA.

      Make sure to talk to your anesthesiologist about all your fears. He/she will design an anesthetic plan that will alleviate some of these fears you have.

      All the best to you,

      Dr Dave

  115. Janell says:

    The two times I’ve had surgery, each time my throat and mouth were so dry that when I went to swallow I had no lubrication and my throat closed and I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was going to die from not being able to breathe both times. I wanted to scream out and day I needed water but nothing would come out. I was finally able to take a breath and somewhat speak/gesture and ask for water but each time I would attempt to swallow to lubricate my throat I would choke. Why does this happen to me?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Janell,

      It’s usually not this extreme, but having a dry throat after surgery is fairly common.

      All the best to you.

      Dr. Dave

  116. Angie says:

    I had myosure and novasure done yesterday. I had a breathing tube during anesthesia. Extreme sore throat yesterday, but slept through, only waking up twice. Today, still sleeping a lot, but have noticed teeth marks on the side of my tongue and the soft tissue under my chin, between my chin and neck, feels very bruised. Also, one of the times I woke up yesterday, my left nostril was crusted in blood (I thought mucus so I blew it) and around a 2 inch or so blood clot came out, like my nose had been bleeding for quite awhile and all the blood just turned into a giant scab. Nobody said anything to my husband or I about me being hard to intubate. I have had surgeries before and not had any problems. Any ideas?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Angie,

      Sometimes people “bite down” as they are waking up from surgery. Unless there’s a reason to avoid it, I like to have an oral airway in place as the patient is waking up.

      There are also nasal airways, and it seems you may have had one of those placed.

      I hope you feel better soon. It would be wise to track down your anesthesiologist and ask about being a difficult airway. If you were, that is VERY IMPORTANT information for you to have. You should then ask him/her to fill out a difficult intubation letter for you. We have a sample one on this site.

      Best of luck,

      Dr Dave

  117. Amanda says:

    I was intubated for surgery about 18 months ago. Since then, I find there are times (especially when its cold) when I can’t achieve a full breath. Over this last winter, there were days when I couldn’t, and it makes me very tired. I have never had breathing problems before, so I’m wondering if the intubation may have been a cause? I also lost a significant amount of weight post-op (over 160 pounds lost), so I’m not sure how that could change it either. Also wondering if this would prevent me from having surgery in the future where I need to be intubated?

    • David Draghinas says:


      The symptoms you are describing are not typical side effects after a breathing tube. Especially 18 months after surgery.

      Something else is probably the cause of your symptoms and this would best be figured out by your personal physician.

      Dr Dave

  118. Stacey says:

    I had a laparoscopic appendectomy 2 days ago. Although my abdomen area is painful, what’s concerning me is my throat. It’s very painful and has made all my neck muscles very sore. I have a difficult time lifting my head up. When I swallow, I can deal with the pain if he initial swallowing. It’s the pain afterward that I can’t stand. I feel pain all throughout the route of my esophagus. It feels like if you’ve swallowed a pointy chip the wrong way and its scraping all the way down into the middle of my chest. Is this normal?

    • David Draghinas says:


      What you are describing is not normal. This is not the typical sore throat we see after endotracheal intubation (breathing tube placement).

      You may want to discuss this with your physician to see what’s going on. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

      Dr. Dave

  119. Chris Witt says:

    I had a surgery for a golf ball size cyst on the back of my neck. When I woke from the procedure and went home I was fine. The next day or so I could not move and mouth was so sore. I called the surgeon and asked if it was normal. He said that I had severe bronchial spasms and that the anesthesiologist administered a breathing tube. EPI 20MG, Ventolin and SUX…. I felt like every bone, muscle in my body was broken, strained or pulled. I asked if this was normal and he said no. The anesthesiologist gave me a report and said to make sure and inform other surgeons that I had this reaction. Is this common using these standard drugs. Propranolol, Versed and Zosran – should I be alarmed for another procedure ? I need to have simple colonoscopy but I don’t want to because I’m terrified to be administered general anesthesia.. thanks !!!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Chris,

      I’m sorry to hear about your scary experience.

      Muscle aches and pains, similar to what you’re describing, can be caused by Sux. It’s a muscle relaxant used to facilitate intubation. Epi and Ventolin were likely used to treat the bronchospasm.

      Propranolol is used to treat high blood pressure (a side effect of Epi), Zofran is commonly used to prevent/treat nausea, and Versed is commonly used to relieve the anxiety associated with surgery.

      Definitely tell any future anesthesiologist about this experience. If you have a history of asthma, making sure it is properly treated and under good control before undergoing future anesthetics is a good idea.

      All the best to you,

      Dr Dave

  120. Catherine says:

    I have had three surgeries in which I was intubated. Two were induced by IV, the last one by gas. On the last one, I woke up in the OR fully aware I was still intubated, which I found very anxiety producing–especially as I prepare for future surgeries. I also found the gas much more anxiety producing. Are there options for the future that can prevent me from remembering these occurrences? Just wondering if there are special requests I can make next time.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Catherine,

      I’m not sure why anesthesia would be induced by gas for you. We typically use this method in children, because they have a hard time holding still for an IV. Did they have any issues starting your IV that day?

      Definitely tell your anesthesiologist about your experiences, and ask him/her what their anesthesia plan is for you. IF you’ve had a bad experience with a particular technique (eg. anesthesia gas induction), you can certainly request a different technique in the future.

      All the best to you,

      Dr Dave

  121. John says:

    I had a double transplant (kidney and liver) in January, 2015. It was a long surgery; more than half a day. It was very successful and I am doing well. As a biologist I knew of the breathing tube which was, of course used. The difference for my case was I had to be awake for them to “remove” the ETT. That was an absolute nightmare as it was not a few seconds, but many minutes of being awake. As it was pulled out, I had to blow outward and then cough and speak immediately – or back in it would go. When I was a little boy, I nearly chocked to death. All that came back as I lay there thinking I could not breath (which technically I could not while the tube was in). It was truly one of the worst experiences I have ever gone through. Terrible. Just terrible.

    • David Draghinas says:

      John, I am glad to hear your double transplant went well. That is no small surgery!

      I am also sorry you had such a horrible post operative experience, especially extubation and weaning from the ventilator. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

      Dr Dave

  122. Elizabeth says:

    I have a Question. I had a hemorrhoidectomy and fissureectomy yesterday. I expected the sore throat but what I didn’t expect is that the from part of my tongue is swollen and I can’t feel the tip of it. Did I bite my tongue? No one seemed to be worried. But. Still can’t feel it today.

    • David Draghinas says:


      You may have bitten your tongue. This could also be the result of an oral airway device (if one was used).

      You could contact your anesthesiologist to let him/her know about this and ask them if they noticed anything during your procedure.

      I hope everything gets back to normal soon.

      Dr Dave

  123. shelly says:

    I had a laproscopy today and experienced the worst thing ever when coming round from a general,on waking i could not breath at all even with oxy mask on,i couldn’t speak and i was certain i was going to die,it was horrific,after what seemed like forever i finally got a good breath in,all the nurse in recovery told me was that my vocal cords had a spasm,my question is will it happen again in future surgery and am i ok to be at home tonight after having this,i have a dry sore throat at the moment but am breathing fine

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Shelly,

      I’m sorry to hear about your traumatic experience with laryngospasm. Although it’s rare, this can happen in the moments after the breathing tube is removed. It can be triggered by secretions or blood that trickles down onto the vocal cords and causes them to spasm shut.

      This does not mean it will happen again with future intubations, but it’s something to mention to any anesthesiologist taking care of you in the future.

      All the best,

      Dr Dave

  124. Nicole says:

    I had my fist surgery a couple of days ago and I did have a breathing tube. I had a little bit of a sore throat after which is normal I was told. But my grandmother told me that the patient takes there own breath tube out during recovery and you don’t remember it. I don’t believe her but I was wondering if it was true?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Nicole,

      Having the patient remove their own breathing tube is not how it is typically done.

      Usually, the breathing tube is removed by the anesthesiologist after the patient achieves certain extubation criteria.

      Take care,

      Dr Dave

  125. Mary DeGregorio says:

    I had gall bladder removal surgery 3 days ago and a breathing tube was placed down my throat, it isn’t all that sore but it is very itchy causing me to cough which is very painful because the area where my gall bladder was removed is still very sore. Is it normal to have this itchy throat causing me to cough? Especially at night when I’m trying to sleep?

  126. Mary DeGregorio says:

    I had a breathing tube inserted during gall bladder removal surgery. The surgery was 3 days ago. My throat doesn’t hurt very much but it is very itchy causing me to cough which is very painful because the area where my gall bladder was removed is still very sore. This especially happens at night when I’m laying down in bed. Is this a normal side effect from the breathing tube?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for your question, Mary. Breathing tubes do not typically cause itchiness. If this is still bothering you, it may be a good idea to have your physician look at your throat.

      Hope you are feeling better,

      Dr Dave

  127. Cat says:

    I had a day procedure yesterday morning. In the afternoon, I noticed that inside my right cheek, near where my mouth begins, there is a little patch of bumps. They are only noticeable/hurt slightly when I run my tongue over them. They are still there today. Is this from intubation?

  128. Sherri says:

    Went in for colorectal surgery 3 days ago. Had a terrible sore throat afterwards which is getting better now. I have a sore on my inside lip and another under my tongue. I had a nasty cough on day 2 and was coughing up icky stuff from my lungs. It stopped this morning. It felt like I was sick, but now I feel fine. I think the breathing tube experience was far worse than the surgery!

  129. Francis Jones says:

    my daughter’s best friend went in for a caesarian yesterday, they ended up using a GA. Apparently when she was being woken, she bit down on the breathing tube, causing consdensation to hit her lungs. She is currently in an induced coma on life support and we are not sure she will make it. Is it even possible for there to be that much condensation in the tube? We feel like we are being lied to.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Francis,

      This does not make a whole lot of sense to me. Rarely, a person can have a terrible laryngospasm after the breathing tube is removed. This can be triggered by secretions in the airway that stimulate the vocal cords.

      If bad enough, this can cause a pulmonary edema (negative pressure) that may require re-intubation and recovery in the ICU. This may have been what occurred to your friend.

      Dr Dave

      • Francis Jones says:

        Thank you for explaining that Dr. Dave, what had been said to us did not seem plausible to myself either 🙂

      • Ellen says:

        Is it normal to have. Little trace of blood in ur saliva after coughing after haveing a scare tissue removal surgery in Mt belly??

  130. sophia says:

    i had nose surgery done a little less than two days ago. i have had minor surgeries before when i was yougee but as i am 15 i now obviously remember. i expected a tube down my throat but i must say i did not expect my throat to hurt so bad! my throat hurts more than my nose which is odd! i am not a big complainer but i must say it hurts to even talk and i did not expect that!

  131. Catherine says:

    I had an emergency appendectomy on friday june 26th, I’m a smoker but being entubated wasnt that bad my sore throat only lasted a day but now there’s what appears to be a canker sore on my lip and I have a lot of gas I can’t get rid of even before they pumped co2 in me and it actually hurts pretty bad would gas x work? And will the sore go away?

  132. Sarah says:

    My daughter recently had surgery and had a breathing tube during surgery. Well when she came out of surgery her eyes were swollen and her lips were swollen, she was having an allergic reaction. She was crying because her throat felt as if it were closing up. They gave her some benadryl thru her iv and it helped, but her swollen eyes didn’t go down till 2 days later.

  133. Hi my name is Melissa and on June 11, 2015 I had surgery on my neck due to a benign tumor on my lymph node. The surgery was a success and afterwards my throat starting hurting because I had a endotracheal tube. The doctor told me the pain would go away and it took a week. Then a week later, the pain came back and it’s still there. I don’t know what to do or what it is. Can anyone give me advice?

  134. Star says:

    I had my gallbladder removed early February 2015. The anesthesiologist told me that I would be intubated and upon awakening I might have a sore throat for a couple of days. My throat was extremely sore and on the second day I looked in my throat to find that the back had a large, bloody red sore and the left side of my throat in front of my tonsils was also sore and bright red. The pain started subsiding after approximately 3 days. My mouth remained sore for about ten days as the sore areas healed. I am now wondering if I was difficult to intubate. Nothing was mentioned to me! In June I had to have a lower front tooth extracted. I had an abscess caused by a fractured root. I never even considered the possibility of the fracture being caused by being intubated. I did not feel pain in the tooth until the abscess because the tooth had a root canal and crown.

  135. Patti Deby says:

    My name is Patti and due to various health issues I have been intubated for surgeries, major and minor 15 times in the last 16 years, sometimes weeks apart.
    I have noticed that I seem to have a catch in my throat in the last couple of years since my last 2 surgeries which were literally days apart. Both surgeries were only approx an hour in length for hernia repairs.
    My concern is with Scar tissue, is it possible that slowly over the process of years I have developed a build up of scar tissue. I had 7 intubations between November 2009 and March 2013.

  136. Justin Swift says:

    I had a surgery on a double hernia yesterday. I had general and assume I was intubated because yesterday afternoon my throat was a little sore and voice was hoarse. Today my throat doesn’t hurt but I can barely talk. This site has helped knowing it should get better and what may have caused it. Hopefully I wake up normal tomorrow.

  137. Lil says:

    I had surgery last week to remove some polyps/get tissue samples, and my throat has been extremely painful since then. I am also coughing a lot and my chest feels tight. I overheard a nurse tell another nurse that I had a coughing fit when they were bringing me round, so could this be the reason why? No-one has told me anything officially, which is annoying me quite a bit! Something similar happened a couple of years ago when I had my gall bladder removed, and whatever happened, it left me unable to sing, and my voice becomes croaky and my throat dries up if I talk for more than a minute or so. 🙁

  138. Serafina says:

    I had surgery for my hip that lasted 5 hours…intubated. I coughed like crazy for 4 days post-op and then realized that my pre-existing GERD was actually the culprit. I am post-op day 7 and my throat is burning, bad GERD symptoms despite high dose ranitadine and omeprazole.
    My question, I am having the other hip done in a few months. Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening again? Is there any danger in being intubated while in this condition of extreme reflux?

  139. Barbra says:

    I had a shoulder arthroscopy last Friday , done under a general anaesthetic. When I was coming round in recovery, the throat tube was removed, and I had something like a tube pulled out of my right nostril. Can you tell me what this was and its use please?

  140. Gabe says:

    I had scar revision done where general anaestesia was used. When I woke up from the surgery my front tooth was achy. I thought it would go away but it has been a month and a half and it’s still there. Is this going to be a situation where my tooth is dead and will turn black? Or will this pain ever go away?

  141. christine wood says:

    I had a face lift on October 1. I was intubated for the surgery. My throat still feels raw and I have trouble swallowing. Not sure how long this is supposed to last. The pain from the face lift only lasted a couple of days.

  142. Char says:

    Last year I had a tubal ligation and a cyst on my right ovary removed. The surgery took much longer than was expected as I had a ton of adhesions from the c-section I had back in 2003. Since the tubal ligation was a laparoscopic procedure, I was intubated. The next day, I noticed that my gums hurt and was mortified to see a huge slash on the gumline. My throat hurt, but not excessively, and I was very hoarse for a few days afterward. I obviously put it all down to being intubated. The slash on my gumline cleared up after 2-3 weeks and the painful throat and hoarseness took about a week to resolve. Ugh, the gas that they pumped my belly up with felt like forever before it didn’t bother me.

    I came to this site after a Google search on excessive pain from intubation. My 92 year old grandfather just had a TAVR done and has some excessive pain from the intubation. They ordered a throat study and it appears that when he sucks on the ice chips the liquid is going into his lungs. I was just researching how long he should expect the sore throat to last, and can see from other sites that it will take between 3-10 days to fully resolve. I hope sooner rather than later, for his sake. Thankfully, he is in good hands in the ICU and has my mother and maternal aunt to watch over him, and be his advocate if needed.

  143. Barbara says:

    Hi Dr,

    My 2 year old had surgery on her arm today and when i was finally able to see her, she had a lump on the back of her head, her lip was swollen and had bite marks in it. She was screaming in agonizing pain and it appeared her head and lip hurt more the her arm were the pins were placed. I need answers, what would cause this? Thank you.

  144. Marie says:

    Hi, I recently had a severe asthma attack that was unresponsive to medications and I ended up Intubated on a ventilator and sedated for six days. When they woke me up and extubated three weeks ago I had no voice at all. It felt like I had a lump in my throat. I still have an incredibly sore throat and have regained very little of my voice. I’m told they has to use wrist restraints as I kept trying to pull the tube even while sedated( I have a severe medical anxiety). Is this normal, should it take so long? I was previously(a year earlier) intubated during an ERCP and again a week later during a cholesytectomy. I didn’t lose my voice either of those two times, and had very little throat discomfort. This time it seems very different.

  145. Sharon Engleka says:

    I had heart ablation over two weeks ago. I was under for five hours and they had to put a breathing tube in. I was fine before the surgery but when I woke up it felt like I had a bad chest cold. I was told to take mucinex. I did for the first week and I’m still coughing and sometime its hard to catch my breath. Is this normal?

  146. Barbara says:

    I had some surgery on Tuesday and a breathing tube was inserted. When I woke up from the surgery, I used the restroom and noticed that there was blood on my lips, which I washed off. The underside of my tongue was so sore, more than my throat. The surgeon told me that it was due to the breathing tube. It was so sore that I couldn’t even drink water without pain. There is a white “hole” under my tongue and a big flap of red skin. Should I be concerned about this or will it heal? Barbara

    • Barbara says:

      It took more than a week for this issue with my tongue to resolve itself. There was a very painful ulcer/sore under my tongue and I really had great
      difficulty eating for about 4 days. I called the doctor and although I made another appt to see him about this, it had started to feel a little better so I waited until my regular follow-up appt the next week. He then told me that they put all this gauze under your tongue when they insert the breathing tube and maybe that’s where the wound came from. I can’t imagine how gauze could cause such a painful open ulcer but it is fine now.

  147. Kaitlin says:

    This article was very helpfull. I’m in 10th grade and am getting a major ankle surgery this Wednesday Nov 11, 2015. I was really scared about dying in the table. I am still nervous but feeling a little better know that I will have something to breathe. Thank you for this article

  148. Sundy says:

    Having a sore throat from the breathing tracheal machine is not uncommon, because I had my 26th surgery on November 18, 2015. My surgeon, I trusted from past surgeries. The anesthesiologist was comforting, knowledgeable & aware of my health issues. He answered every question I felt with confidence. Also, my faith was rooted in my Lord Jesus Christ. But, this particular time, I feel a knot on the inside of my throat. It feels sore & raw. Also, my ribs and collarbone hurt. My neck feels like whiplash! I know my neck was tilted, but could damage happen from the breathing tracheal apparatus? My surgery was nowhere near these places on my body.

  149. Jill K. says:

    I had knee replacement surgery with anesthesia and breathing tube 11 days ago. I still feel like there is a “lump” in my throat that makes eating somethings difficult. I did not expect to feel the effects this long after surgery.

  150. Jennifer says:

    I didn’t have any sore throat or any kind of memory of even having it other than that fact that they told me I had one but I’m still having issues with food feeling like its “stuck” in the back of my throat one of the groups in in says its (Sliming- food gets stuck from being too dry or too big of a bite. Your body emits huge amounts of mucus trying to move the food thru, you spit or vomit mucous for hours but the food item doesn’t come up until much later or it finally passes. It’s also called “foaming” ) I always get a terrible pain in my chest as the mucous builds up. But I was told by the. Dr office the it was probably just that my throat may still be swollen even though it doesn’t hurt… So I don’t know I hope that’s all and it will soon go away because as u can imagine the past two weeks of the above I am hoping doesn’t continue because in my case I’m just nibbling not taking full bites and it does it and even with things like applesauce so I hope it goes away soon eating /drinking is such a huge chore now even though I feel as though I’m starving anyways it’s hard to describe

  151. Loraine Warrick says:

    I had my thyroid removed in april 2015 . When I AWOKE FROM SURGERY I KEEP TELLING THEM I WAS DYING 7 I couldn’t breathe so the anesthesiologist told them to hurry up & get me a breathing treatment. I would like to know what happened.

  152. mandi smith says:

    Hi all, i had a hysterectomy in 2010. It was expected to be a 45 minute procedure, but ended up being 3 hours. Post op, my throat was painful, nothing tasted of anything, and it just got worse. Eventually, after 2 days, the Dr discovered a cut in the side of my throat that was, by then, infected. The nurse explained it was likely that my throat had dried around the tube and wasnt lubricated before removal. After a course of antibiotics, it cleared up well. However, when i explained this before a recent surgery, no where in my notes was it documented, which i thought was strange, if not suspicious! Following the Hysterectomy, i had all kinds of gastric issues and pain, and earlier this year they found a hiatus hernia in my wind pipe. I am now seriously wondering if the damage was caused by that surgery.

  153. Sandra Kramer says:

    I am having a hysterectomy in two days. Yesterday I came down with a cough and the chills. Will they still do my surgery?

  154. Michelle says:

    I will preface my experience by saying I’ve had lifelong asthma, and my greatest fear has been dying from suffocation. I also worked in Healthcare so I was aware that almost everyone gets intubation for surgery, and are mostly unaware. I’ve also had surgeries before following incident. I had back surgery in 2009, and the only negative was waking up with the hard plastic breathing tube in place. I involuntarily clamped down and was unable to breathe. The attending nurse began yanking on the tube and threatening to break my teeth if I didn’t let go. I truly felt that i would die at this point. With great effort I forced myself to let go, and the tube was ripped from my throat, and I mean ripped. I then went into an asthma attack during which the nurse berated me and repeatedly asked “why are you breathing like that?” I couldn’t even speak. Apparently I struggled for about 2 hours, as my family later informed me. They were told it would be about 15 minutes, so they knew something had happened. The pain from having the tube ripped out was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It lasted for weeks, and even speaking was painful. And some of my teeth were damaged after all. This remains the worst experience of my life. I am terrified to ever have surgery again, but I have health problems that mean I will definitely face surgery again. I would rather die than go through that again. I couldn’t even talk about it for months, and I still get emotional when I think about it. I am shaking and crying as I write this. I still don’t understand why they felt they needed to wake me up while it was in place. I can’t think of anything worse. When I finally questioned the surgeon about it, all he said was “I’m not required to tell you anything.” I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.

  155. Marissa says:

    I had a hytseroscopy and a D&C yesterday to remove and biopsy multiple polyps. I went under general anaesthesia and was intubated after being put under. I woke up while they were taking the tube out (which was very rough and painful) and immediately started to cough very violently. For an hour afterward I had to be put on oxygen and have a breathing treatment because I could not breathe properly and wasn’t getting enough trying to breathe on my own. My throat is ridiculously sore, it feels so scratchy and I can feel that it is stretched from the tube. I also have a deep cut in the very back on the roof of my mouth next to my top left molar. This is also accompanied by severe neck and jaw pain. Essentially my entire mouth and throat/neck area feels extremely sore, like as if someone beat me up. This is extremely painful and is causing me to cough all the time, which makes it hurt worse, what can I do to at least alleviate some of the pain?

  156. Shelly Laventure says:

    This January I got H1N1. My breathing shut down and i needed a breathing tube. The Doctor at one hospital inserted it and ripped my windpipe 1.5 inches. After 2 days the rip was noticed and I sent to a different hospital in the middle of the night for repair surgery.
    I dont remeber any of this because I was placed into a coma for 8 days. I am still trying to put together what happened. And why it happened.

  157. Stacy ann says:

    Hi. I did an emergency surgery on February 21 for an ectopic pregnancy and tube removal. Still very sore and healing slowly. However having a hard time eating due to a sore and damaged roof of my mouth. What can I do for some immediate relief. Please help

  158. vanya daymond says:

    hello, i had surgery yesterday and recovered but how long does the itchy sore throat last? even when i ttalk or breathe a bit it alters my voice then itches and i have to cough, is that normal? and yes i smoke but really? my throat is like that cause i smoke the surgeon said? well it wasnt before hand, and i could sing fine before and now it worries me I wont be able to sing like before because my i tried and my vocals changed weird then i had a coughing fit….so us that normal or is my vocal chord stuffed? cause ive read some peoples comments else where and their itchy sore throats have all cleared in first day or 2 and im heading onto day 2 and im still coughing my ringer out, its actually making me regurgitate.HELP need answers please!!!!!

  159. Laura says:

    Had surgery April of 16. Breathing tube was placed due to acid reflux issues. I have environmental allergies that cause chronic post nasal drip. Before surgery I was dealing with that and it causes me to clear my throat a lot. Now 9 days later I’m still having lots of chest congestion and a hoarse voice. Why??

  160. Lf says:

    My husband had a total hip replacement surgery monday the next day he had hiccup an short of breath n a week later still going on

  161. Theresa says:

    I just had my gallbladder removed today, and for the second time I woke up feeling like I was unable to breathe. At first it feels like I can get no air at all, like my throat is completely closed. Then finally, it seems to relax some, but I still gasp really loudly for air. Usually have an oxygen mask on for a while. Seems to resolve after about 30 minutes or so, but it is very scary. I haven’t found anyone else who experiences this and am wondering if this is a normal reaction.

  162. Rosemary Baldwin says:

    I have a cardiac ablation scheduled for the wpw syndrome I have. i was wondering if they would probably put me under general anesthesia? Also do they always put a breathing tube in when you’re under general anesthesia? Also if the patient is just going t get a strong sedative but asks for the general anesthesia because they want to be fully asleep, will the doctor usually do it? Sorry, im just really nervous.

  163. Britt says:

    I was on life support and due to a stabbing. I have a throbbing feeling in my right side kindof under my arm pit.. it’s like a bee sting but 1000 times worse. I was told this could be nerve irritation and it should clear up.. it’s been a months and a half and it’s still happening.. will this go away?

  164. Tammie says:

    Hi I’ve never had any type of surgery until I had a tubal ligation about 2 weeks ago. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t told that I would had a tube inserted. After surgery; I didn’t have a sore throat. Now my lips on the right side of my mouth are still tingling. They burn whenever cold air hits them. Please help.

  165. Stuart Doran says:

    I had a decommpressive laminectomy, performed 21 June 2016. I was under general anesthesia and they used a breathing tube. I guess somehow I woke up after the surgery still in the OR and pulled the tube out with the balloon still inflated. I ended up with pulmonary edema and pneumonia. I was supposed to be in the hospital for 2 days and ended up there for 10. How is it possible to wake up and still have the breathing tube in place. I don’t remember any of this but my surgeon told me what happened.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Stuart, it’s difficult to know exactly what happened in your situation with the information provided. Generally, the breathing tube is removed “as you are waking up”. Most people don’t have any memory of this (I didn’t when I had surgery). It is possible that you reached up, grabbed the tube and removed it prior to the anesthesiologist.

      This should not have caused pulmonary edema or pneumonia. My guess is that after the tube was removed, you experienced laryngospasm (vocal cords slamming shut). This CAN cause (negative pressure) pulmonary edema and probably required the extended hospital stay.

  166. Janene says:

    HELP!!!!!!! I was intubated in ICU for a week due to Anaphylaxis, I am now 11 days post intubation and I am still experiencing intense throat pain!! I did follow up with my family dr a week ago and he said it would get better but it has not and if anything I think it is actually getting WORSE!!! When I say my throat I don’t mean at the back of my throat like as if it were when I have a ‘sore throat’ it’s down deeper almost where my Adam’s apple would be if I had one and ONLY on my left side. Does ANYONE have any idea as to what this might be?? Or what I should do??

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Janene,

      I’m sorry to hear you aren’t doing well. I recently had to get treatment for an allergic reaction. Although I didn’t have to be intubated, I know how scary (and life threatening) anaphylaxis can be.

      When intubated for long periods of time, there can be complications at the level of your larynx and vocal cords. You may benefit from having your primary physician refer you to an ENT surgeon as they are the experts in assessing these types of issues.

      Hope you feel better soon.

      Dr Dave

      • Janene says:

        Dr Dave, THANK YOU SO MUXH FOR YOUR RESPONSE!!! I am sorry that you have to deal with allergies as well!! So I followed up with my FD yesterday and he again just suggested I continue with ‘symptomatic’ treatment which is nothing really and he wants to wait for the reports from the hospital to see if I was a difficult intubation.(he has left for a 3 week vacation now) I am at a loss here. I want to listen to what he says BUT this is now 14 days post extubation and I am not getting better and now the pain is going into my left ear and left side of my neck. This is honestly so frustrating.

  167. Dana McCans says:

    I just got home from a MACS Lift and I was never told I had an endotracheal tube but my throat is very sore and I have bruises on the lower front part of my neck. I am wondering if they put this down and was she having trouble and was squeezing my neck. This could be bruising from the MACS Lift but the bruises are awfully low. Even on my face, I am not bruised like this. It looks like someone tried to murder me and it’s so painful to swallow.

  168. ASHLEY GARCIA says:

    I have issues having the tube down my throat, in may I was suppose to have laparoscopy surgery but due to them not able to get the tube down my throat (they tried 4 times!) I was unable to have it. I ended up contracting pneumonia that night and had to stay in the hospital for 4 days. So I have to go to a different hospital with ENT doctors on site to assist with it in hopes they’ll be able to get it done.

    • David Draghinas says:

      It sounds like you have a difficult airway. They will likely perform an awake fiberoptic intubation next time for your safety.

  169. Andrew Morris says:

    I had minor surgery on my toe just yesterday but due to a severe needle phobia i had to have a general anesthetic. They went over a lot of the dangers of anesthetic and the breathing tube because my uncle had muscular dystrophy (my mums been tested and doesn’t carry it) they doctor said it could possibly damage my mouth area (this is what i assume caused my problem). I woke up from surgery and the first thing i noticed was that half of my bottom lip was swollen, i asked the doctor if that was normal and what happened but he wouldnt give me a clear answer. The swelling went down slightly over time but this morning its back to how it felt in the recovery rooom

  170. Mike says:

    Its been two weeks since my surgery. I wokw up with a cut vetween my teeth and toung on my lower jaw. The last two day the inflamation have increased to the point that i cannot take it anymore. Is it pissible that they broke a tooth off during tubing me

    • David Draghinas says:

      Mike, Sorry to hear about your bad experience.

      Although rare, it is possible to chip a tooth when a breathing tube is placed (especially if you were a difficult intubation).

      Hope you feel better soon.

      Dr Dave

  171. I recently had a hysteroscopy. Everything went well. When I awoke, one of the nurses instructed me to continue using the breathing tube for the next 15-20 minutes or so, to restore my breathing to normal. She asked me if “my heart skips beats?” I told her, not to my knowledge, and I inquired was this something taking place during surgery. I think she responded with a “yes”, but it seemed like a vague response, and plus, I was still feeling somewhat disoriented, just having come out of the surgery. I did notice my throat was somewhat sore, and my bottom lip was swollen, like I had bitten it. The fact that a “breathing tube” would have been used, was new to me. When I awoke, no one was in the OR but the nurse, so I could not ask any questions, although my gynecologist came in and explained to me they did remove (I think a huge polyp or fibroid?) I did have an endoscopy done in 1999, and I would imagine they would have inserted a breathing tube then, not sure. After reading some of the other patients’ experiences, I consider myself to be lucky, because I am so thankful I did not have the experiences some of them did after surgery. And it sounds like my operating team (Anesthesiologist, Gynecologist, Head Surgery Nurse), were very sensitive to my needs, and took really good care of me. I would like to know however, can I get access to a copy of my medical records concerning this procedure? And when tubing is done, is it possible that the medical staff can detect whether my lungs are in good shape or not? Thank you for any info you can provide me with. Elaine

    • David Draghinas says:

      You absolutely can get a copy of your medical records, which will include the anesthesia record. This may answer some of the questions you have about your anesthesia. A breathing tube doesn’t really detect “whether your lungs are in good shape”, but if there were any issues with your lungs/ventilation during your procedure, this would end up on your anesthesia record as well.

      All the best,

      Dr Dave

  172. Jennifer says:

    Dr’s, thank you so much for your time and energy being spent answering all of our questions. Which brings me to why I’m messaging you gentlemen: I had a left inguinal mesh removal today, then an inguinal fix again as well as an umbilical hernia, oh an apparently he premised a damage nerve in the inguinal area. Surgery was at 8am but I had to stay until after 3pm rt: length of surgery and some slight complications not related to intubation.

    My throat was sore which as a nurse I know happens to just about anyone however it got worse as the day passes on so I looked in the mirror to evaluated it. There is white tissue on one side of my throat and not the other. It almost looks like the day after my tonsillectomy 17 yrs ago (that scarring faded and I was boasting normal one again in my throat. Do you guys have any ideas for me?

    Thanks a ton again for your time and expertise,

    Jen A.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hard to say just from the description, Jennifer. Did it look like there could be signs of infection?

      I hope you got better soon.

      Dr Dave

  173. Mike says:

    I had an issue when i had my sholder repair.
    I woke uo with a sore throught and skin missing on inside right of my jaw. Few weeks later had really bad infection and two peices of bone that i removed by hand after they stuck into my toung. Why would this happen. I am on my second trip to dentist to find out what exactly is happening. They did not see anything in the first xrays. All teeth were ok thus far. Hope the infection has not caused anymore damage.
    What type of reprocussions does one have

    • David Draghinas says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your issue. That certainly sounds very unusual, not at all typical. A good first step is to speak with your anesthesiologist, explain your symptoms, and see if they can provide any insight on what happened while you were under anesthesia.

      Dr Dave

  174. kel kel says:

    I had ankle surgery a month ago and had read all these comments before I went in, they scared me to death and I begged the anesthesiologist not to give me general as I was so afraid of being paralyzed and having the breathing tube. She agreed not to but did put me into a twilight sleep and used local. Well during the operation I started moving around too much, of course I was unaware of this at the time, anyway she was forced at this point to give me general. I don’t remember any of the surgery or the tube being placed or taken out, most of you will be completely unconscious and unaware of anything happening. I woke up in recovery with a slight sore throat and a fat/numb lower lip. They told me the fat lip was due to the breathing tube being taped against my lip for 4 hours. The sore throat went away in a day and the numbness tingling and nerve pain went away in my lip in 3 weeks. If anyone that needs surgery is reading this please don’t let the fear of general and breathing tubes overtake you like it did me. I worried for nothing and I’m sure you will be fine too! Also I recommend a nerve block before the procedure for anyone having ortho surgery as it blocks the pain for a day or two and don’t be afraid if they tell you the nerve will wear off in 18 hours and a day later you’re still numb. It happened to me and it will eventually wear off. Good luck everyone!

  175. Ashley says:

    I had a breathing tube put in while they were working on my knee yester day morning g and my chest hurts a little bit to take deep breaths and so does my throat

  176. Jackie says:

    Hi , Dr Draghinas, could you please tell me- if someone has to have general anesthetic for a major surgery, and they have a swollen thyroid, (goiter) will it be safe for them to have a breathing tube? will the tube obstruct anything ? Thank you….

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Jackie,
      It would be wise for someone with a goiter to be evaluated by an anesthesiologist prior to surgery.

      One potential big issue (depending on the size of the goiter) is properly placing the breathing tube, without the tube being obstructed.

      Remember, the breathing tube is your lifeline that delivers oxygen to your lungs and body while under general anesthesia.

      All the best,

      Dr Dave

      • Jackie says:

        Hello, would they need to do an ultrasound of the goiter prior to surgery do you think? thank you so much for your reply.

        • David Draghinas says:

          I’m not sure an ultrasound would be that helpful here.

          But once an anesthesiologist talked to you and examined you, they Could determine if a something like a CT of the neck would be helpful. That would show a cross secționat of the goiter in relation to your airway.

          Again, none of this may be necessary. But probably wise to be seen by an anesthesiologist in advance.

          All the best,

          Dr Dave

  177. Jerry says:

    Hello, i’m a 61-year-old male. Three months ago I went through it ACDF fusing four discs. Since that time I’ve had difficulty sleeping because I feel like there’s a flap or something just in the back of my mouth that falls closed and shuts off my breathing. I use a CPAP machine and it helped when I crank to the pressure higher, but I still suffer from it. Even throughout the day I feel it’s a little swollen in the back of my mouth on the top and that it wants to block my airway.
    Thank you in advance for your comments.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Jerry,

      If something feels like it’s blocking the airway, its wise to get that checked out by your physician.

      All the best,

      Dr Dave

  178. Jami Russo says:

    Hi my name is Jami. I had a cholecystectomy 1/4. They did tube me. My throat was sore & lasted a day, but I’ve been having this uncomfortable pressure in my upper jaw/teeth & my nose. Almost feels like a sinus infection, but it’s not. Could this be from the intubation & how long does it usually last? I had to have a hysterectomy in April & they tubed me as well, but I didn’t have this pressure then. Thank you!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Jami,

      This doesn’t sound like the typical sore throat from intubation.

      You could talk to your anesthesiologist to see if there were any issues with your intubation and/or extubation.

      And if your symptoms don’t improve, you may want to have a physician check this out.

      Praying for a complete recovery for you.

      Dr Dave

  179. Bonnie says:

    Hi my name is Bonnie I’m 17 and I just had spinal fusion to correct scoliosis. The put me under using an IV. When I woke up from surgery I got a very panicked feeling because there was some kind of tube Down my throat. Twice I had decided to relax myself and go back to sleep hoping the nurse would take it out before I was supposed to wake up, but when I woke up a third time with this chocking feeling my mom ran out to get a nurse who immediately removed the tube. My mom said the nurse told her that it would pop up like a turkey popped when it would be ready to taken out. It was something placed only for an emergency and it is a tube that would connect to another thing if I was to stop breathing on my own. Do have any clue to what the tube would be?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Bonnie, thanks for sharing your experience. It’s difficult to know exactly what happened from your description.

      One possibility is that you had an LMA (laryngeal mask airway) in place. Sometimes an LMA is placed in emergency airway type situations. They sit in the back of your throat and help keep the airway open. And they are easily removed.

      Let us know if you find out any more information about your ordeal.

      Dr Dave

  180. Robin says:

    I had nausea immediately after I woke up and had phenegran, which apparently knocked me out so cold that it scared the nurse. My BP was low for a while 98/51 and my Osat was low so they had me on O2 for awhile post-operatively. I also had an extremely sore throat which improved over next 24-48 hours. Also troubling swallowing food, getting stuck in my throat , and then having coughing fits trying to hack it up. (Popcorn not advisable.) Recommend getting Cloriseptic spray and using it before eating.
    But still have a really worrisome problem now with mucous accumulating in my throats and sort of resting on my soft palate, which seems to be swollen, so that even now a week later I can’t sleep at night because of coughing from it. I am very fatigued from lack of sleep. Is this mucous problem normal? It doesn’t seem to be from chest, and I am not having sinus congestion. It seems to somehow be produced at the back of my throat. The coughing from it is causing my throat to swell I think. Please let me know if I need to call my surgeon, or if I should see an ENT. Surgery was for C3-4-5 anterior dissectomy, laminectomy, and removal of hardware for earlier fusions of C5-6-7. Neurosurgeon performed and anesthesiologist intubated me using a camera. Was under for 3 hours. Never had any problems from any anesthesia before this time. Thanks for your feedback. Robin

    • David Draghinas says:


      Thanks for your comment. I have to emphasize that we can not give anyone medical advice through this site. This is informational only.

      What you describe does not sound like a typical sore throats seen with intubation.

      You may want to check in with your physicians to let them know how you’re doing.

      All the best,

      Dr Dave

      • Robin says:

        Thanks for your prompt response. The reason I thought it might be caused by the intubation is because it started after the surgery, so I looked up some other people having similar issues. While most seem to have more of a problem with phlegm coming from chest, I did find several people who had nearly identical experiences as mine. Here’s one from
        05-28-2005 11:12 PM by Sinyan
        Every since I had surgery 4 months ago (which had nothing to do with my throat I had my colon removed but had a tube down my throat)I have what feels like mucus in my throat that I can’t cough up and I get short of breath quickly can anyone tell me how to get rid of it?

        05-29-2005 02:51 PM by ldolson
        Re: After Surgery Throat Mucus
        You need to go see an ENT and get a larygnoscope done to see if you have developed a stenosis due to scar tissue from intubation. If they traumatize the trachea with the tube that goes down your throat it can start growing scar tissue. This will start to restrict your airway and you will have trouble breathing. You will develop what is called stridor, which is basically a breathiness to your talking… feeling like you cannot complete a sentence without taking an extra breath. Unfortunately, there is no way to cough this up. This is not a fun thing to go through ( been there done it) but you really need to see a doctor. Do not go to a family doc since most have not had to deal with such a thing. Either see an ENT or a pulmonologist.

        This is the response which seems like medically well-informed. I am just wondering if this sounds like a valid scenario. And if so, would a person need to call their surgeon first, or go to another specialist such as an ENT, regardless. Hope this clarifies my experience and concerns some. Any objective case-study type of experience would be appreciated and not taken as medical advice, but rather a gathering of information. Thank you.

        • David Draghinas says:

          Hi Robin,

          It’s a good idea to let your surgeon know about your symptoms. Here’s an article that talks about potential complications of ACDFs.

          I think there’s at least two possibilities with your new symptoms after surgery.

          They could be related to the surgery. Or, they could be related to the anesthesia.

          It sounds like they used A glidescope (video camera) for intubation. Unless you were a very difficult airway, the intubation should not have been traumatic (may be a good idea to talk to your anesthesiologist too).

          Let me know if this was helpful, and how you are progressing. Hope you do better soon.

  181. terri says:

    I had a complication from having a cancerous kidney removed. A month after the nephrectomy, I developed a horrible pain just above my navel. Long story short, I had a closed loop bowel obstruction that had strangulated. It required the resection of 5 feet of necrotic small bowel and resulted in septic shock. When I was being transferred to the Critical Care Unit after the surgery, I woke briefly, unable to breathe. It was terrifying. I was trying to tell them that I couldn’t breathe, but didn’t know if anyone could see me. I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear people. It felt like a long time, but I’m sure it was less than 30 seconds before I was unconscious again. My husband was there, and it really upset him to see me go through the panic he knew I must have felt. They were able to remove the tube the following morning. I was fully awake and calm at the time. I’m not exactly sure what happened that night. Maybe they were trying to see if I could breath on my own, and I couldn’t. Maybe they didn’t mean for me to wake up. I never thought to ask. What ever the reason, it was absolutely terrifying for those few moments not knowing if anyone knew I couldn’t breathe. I did ask the doctor why they left me on the ventilator all night-he told me that my body was “running on fumes”. It was a slow recovery, but other than a nasty scar and some occasional flashbacks, I am back to normal. Any input would be appreciated.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry you went through such an ordeal.

      It’s difficult to know what happened in your case without examining the medical records. But generally, it’s fairly common to leave patients intubated when dealing with being septic and perhaps hemodynamically unstable.

      Sometimes, an anesthesiologist may give a trial of extubation to see if the patient is ready to “breathe on their own”. The only way a family member would witness this is if it occurred in the ICU setting.

      So it’s hard to say what could have happened in your case. But it sounds like you were quite sick. I’m so glad you got through that sickness.

      Dr Dave

  182. terri says:

    There is no doubt I was unstable. My blood pressure had bottomed out, and they were pumping fluid in as fast as they could. I actually gained almost 20 pounds in three days. My kidney had stopped functioning for a short time. My blood ph was critically low. They took me straight to the ICU from the OR. It may be that the anesthesia lightened up just enough for me to briefly wake up. I don’t guess I’ll ever know for sure. It’s not something I wish to experience again. From the research I have done, I suffered a pretty rare complication from kidney removal that seems to be peculiar to the left kidney. It would be much more interesting if it wasn’t my left kidney. I prefer to be a horse, not a zebra. Thank you for your input.

    • David Draghinas says:

      No problem, Terri. Glad you’re doing better.

      Light anesthesia may have contributed. When a patient is so unstable, they sometimes can’t tolerate much anesthesia to begin with.

      Dr Dave

  183. I had a minor surgery and woke up with a severely banged up throat, stitches in my lip, and inside my mouth. I was told I they had a terrible time getting the breathing tube inserted, I stopped breathing, and they nearly had to surgically place a tube into the base of my throat. It was a very scary time for the surgical team. They anesthesiologist gave me a letter to carry in my purse saying I should never be put under again. Now I have polyps on my gall bladder and need to have it removed. I now live in a very small town with no large medical center. I’m feeling concerned. What should I do?

    • David Draghinas says:

      That’s definitely a scary experience, Kimberly.

      Whenever you have anesthesia again, be sure to show the anesthesiologist your difficult intubation letter and tell them about your experience.They may decide to do what’s called an “awake intubation”.

      We have an article on difficult intubation here.

      Best of luck to you. Please come back and let us know how you did.

      Dr Dave

  184. Nelia S says:

    My father was admitted to hospital with complications due to his Multiple Myeloma. He had acute kidney failure, fluid in his lungs and ended up having to have a breathing tube put in. When they put it in the doctor said he’d never seen so much secretions come up, he actually thought he’d gone into his stomach so he pulled it out. When the RT came to do it he said the same thing but got it down. Since then he had the breathing tube in and out 3x. The last time they ended up doing a tracheostomy. For a while on a CT scan they said there was a mass in his throat. He hasn’t been able to eat or drink because everything seems to be going into his lungs. They haven’t been able to tell us why as of yet. Today ENT went in with a bronchoscope and said there is no mass, just extra tissue accumulated there. How difficult is it to laser off this excess tissue whilst having the trach? is it possible?
    We are wondering if this is the reason he isn’t able to swallow?

    • David Draghinas says:

      I’m very sorry to hear about all the health problems of your father.

      It sounds like his medical situation is complicated and it is difficult to completely understand the picture here.

      This question is probably best answered by his ENT surgeon that has examined him.

      Thoughts and prayers your way.

      Dr Dave

  185. Ms Shine says:

    Hi Dr, I had a minor surgery with the breathing tube performed today. I understand the side effects afterwards such as sore throat, difficulty swallowing but I have symptoms of a cold such as running nose, sneezing, coughing. Is this normal when none of these symptoms were present before having the breathing tube during my surgical procedure?

    Thank you ~Ms Shine

    • David Draghinas says:

      Symptoms of a cold are not common after a breathing tube.

      I hope you are feeling better. If not, use your good judgment in seeking medical care.

      Dr Dave

  186. I had an aortic bifemoral bypass last December at Cedars Sinai, several hours away from my home. I told the anesthesiologist that I was difficult to intubate. The surgery took 8 hours – I remember being woke up afterwards. I was tied down and the tube was still in my throat – I was freaked out! It was one of the worst experiences of my life! I couldn’t talk or make any sound so I couldn’t communicate and being constrained is a phobia to me. Why didn’t they forewarn me? They left it in for two days, I’m told – I don’t remember much about the passage of time. I was in the hospital for 8 days, and it was a good week after I got home that my throat didn’t hurt any more. Thanks to reading this webpage, I will be asking for a letter from the anesthesiologist. I’m bothered that it wasn’t offered to me.

    • David Draghinas says:

      Sorry to hear about the trauma you went through, Donna.

      It’s hard to know exactly what happened here. At the end of surgery, if the anesthesiologist doesn’t feel it’s safe to extubate (remove the breathing tube) then you’ll go to the ICU with the breathing tube in place.

      This could be due to a stressful surgery where the anesthesiologist may have encountered hemodynamic instability (there was difficulty controlling and keeping your vital signs normal) and it can occasionally be due to a difficult airway that needs some time to recover before the breathing tube is removed.

      In your case here, it’s hard to know which one (maybe both?) occurred. It would be wise to speak with your anesthesiologist to understand exactly what happened.

  187. Daleana Sealock says:

    I was hospitalized for 30 days and for 13 days I was on a breathing machine. Now my voice is hoarse and people cant hardly hear me talk. Is there something I can drink or something I can take to make it better?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Daleana,

      You should probable be seen by an ENT surgeon. Being intubated for extended periods of time can sometimes cause damage to your vocal cords. ENT doctors are the experts to evaluate these types of issues.

  188. Zelda says:

    Thank you for this wonderfully informative site!

    Today I had an operative hysteroscopy to remove a polyp. The anesthesiologist said he doubted I would need a breathing tube, but “who knows.” I woke up with an awful sore throat (which I still have, many hours later), and the nurse confirmed that I did indeed need the breathing tube. I haven’t yet been able to reach the surgeon or anesthesiologist to find out why I needed the tube. What could have happened during surgery to make them decide to insert it?

    • David Draghinas says:

      My guess is the initial plan was to place an LMA. But sometimes that fails to seat properly and intubation is necessary.

      Just a hunch though. Definitely check with your anesthesiologist to understand what happened.

      • Zelda says:

        Thank you! I did check–it was indeed an LMA, I was given incorrect info. The pain was really bad for a few days and then eventually got better, so perhaps it wasn’t placed correctly.

  189. Josandra says:

    Hi I have a question I had surgery yesterday and had the tube down my throat I know it’s normal to have a sore throat but is it normal to spit out blood? Thank you!

    • David Draghinas says:

      Spitting blood is not normal. If it’s still happening you may want to have your doctor check it out.

  190. Hassnein says:

    I had inguinal hernia surgery three days ago with a breathing tube. That evening I noticed a sore throat and this odd sensation that something was stuck in the back of my throat. The next day I checked my mouth with a flashlight and noticed an elongated uvula with a white tip on the end of it. It gets in the way of talking and swallowing and feels very uncomfortable. No pain though. Any idea how long it takes for this heal? It’s driving me crazy and is actually more bothersome than my groin pain.

  191. Karma McConaha says:

    I had surgery on my ankle 1 week ago. I had a breathing tube during the surgery. Was also taking Percocet and Morphine for the pain. 3 days after the surgery, I lost the hearing in my left ear. 4 days later I went to Urgent Care and they said both of my ear drums were swolen. They prescribed a nasal antihistamine. I haven’t seen this as a side effect of the tube in previous comments. I am still waiting/hoping for my hearing to come back. Is this normal?

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Karma,

      I haven’t heard of swollen ear drum as a side effect of intubation and having a breathing tube.

      But there are certain medicines that can cause hearing loss. The list includes:
      Aspirin, NSAIDS (like Motrin), Some antibiotics, diuretics (eg. lasix), and some cancer treatment medicines.

      I’m hoping your hearing has returned to normal.

  192. Maria says:

    Dear Dr Dave ,
    I have a D and C two weeks ago and I have a worst chest and neck pain … it went away for awhile and come back I’m having discomfort of sleeping too my muscles is ache from my neck and my legs and my back,,, it’s been two weeks and I’m worried about having heart condition. They give me anesthesia and breathing tubes down in my throat which is very sore and leaves a lot of mucus for first two weeks even now … please help ! I need clear my mind

    • David Draghinas says:

      Hi Maria,
      Thanks for your comment. Remember, we can’t give you medical advice on this site.
      What’s unusual in your case is that your pain went away then came back.

      You should speak with your physician about this. Chest pain can be a significant issue that needs to be discussed with your doctor.

      Hope you feel better soon.

      Dr Dave

  193. Donna Lane says:

    Your family should have been asking for a nursing supervisor or someone higher up

  194. Robert McDowell says:

    I had a procedure on 11/23/17 to have a few injections in joints in my feet and ankles. I know they used propofol and the procedure took about 10 minutes. However, the recovery room nurse said I was under for an hour as the nurse anesthetist gave me additional propofol to “make sure I was comfortable”. Having had a couple of colonosocpys with propofol and waken up soon thereafter, I begin wonder if I was put under for too long. Given these facts, is it likely they would have a used a breathing tube also? Have just noticed a little tightness in my chest the following day. Maybe it is just part of the process. Thanks!

    • David Draghinas says:

      It’s really not possible for me to answer your questions from the information given.

      The best way to determine if a breathing tube was placed is to take a look at the anesthesia record.

      It will tell you if a breathing tube was used and the length of surgery and the length of anesthesia time.

      That’s the key to get the information you’re looking for.

      All the best,

      Dr Dave

  195. K says:


    When I was a kid I had my ears pinned back . I remember waking up from the surgery as they were taking out the breathing tube and I couldn’t breath at all I was gasping for air and I sat straight up in the bed. I’m due to go for complete acl construction surgery and I am terrified that I will experience the same experience as before. Is there anything I can do to prevent it from happening again ?

    Thank you !

  196. Potato says:

    Had surgery on my chest, I expected some numbness on my chest but I actually have numbness on my throat and cheek. Thinking about it more, I feel its more likely from The breathing tube. Cuz when I woke up I didnt feel anything, but my voice was horse, as my voice got better my neck has become quite numb. Over a day or two numb has moved into a sore, scratchy numb feeling, even a litle in the cheeks. Idk whats going on.

  197. Andrea says:

    Hello, I was wondering , I was going in for surgery 1-11-18 for cervical fusion my anesthesiologist was so very nice right before she put me under she told me don’t worry we will take very good care of you. Well from what I am told I had allergic reaction and my blood pressure went way down the nurse told my kids they brought me out of the anesthesia and I was talking to them. Next thing I remember , it was as if my spirit went into panic mode and jumped from my body sat up and screamed as load as I could I can’t breath and then I can hear myself gasping for air and I can hear the doctor calling for medication and she was putting a breathing tube In For the second time so starange I felt no pain and I did not feel like I was winded . I was in full blow anaphylactic shock and woke up in ICU the next day, the only concern I have at the moment is that my throat has been sore since it’s 1-29-18 is my throat really suppose the sore that long???

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