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The recovery period is from the reversal of general anaesthesia to a state of normal arousal with no side effects some hours after the operation. The first stage takes place in a dedicated recovery area staffed by skilled nurses.

Oxygen is given by a face mask until the patient has fully regained consciousness. Vital signs are monitored continuously. Ideally, after patient assessment of the amount of pain, analgesics are administered with or without antiemetics. The patient should be kept warm.

Once the patient is capable of maintaining their own airway, has adequate pain control and haemoglobin saturation, and is oriented in time and space, they may be returned to the ward.

Despite the anaesthetist not being present for the entire course of recovery, full instructions as to after-care should be given, e.g. continued pain relief, oxygen therapy, fluid regimens.

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