I went for a colonoscopy yesterday. All I can remember is screaming because of the horrific pain at the Propofol insertion site. The Dr. Told me there would be " a little burning"! Had I not fallen asleep I would have pulled the line out. I am not a baby with no pain tolerance, but this was unbelievable!!! I need to go for more surgery and almost want to cancel because of only ?30-40 seconds of barbaric pain. Actually I am embarrassed for screaming like that but I couldn't help it. Anyone experience this, or know why it would have been so bad?? Thank you
7 Aug 2013
Not sure of the "why" on your question, but I can tell you what to ask them to do differently. Most people experience a burning sensation, but not to the extend that you describe. If for future surgeries, the anesthesiologist/nurse anesthetist will be using propofol for general anesthesia, tell them about your painful experience with propofol. They can 1) mix lidocaine in with the propofol to be injected, or 2) Inject a dose of lidocaine into your IV line and allow it to circulate to "numb" or more like "desensitize" your vein before injecting the propofol. 3) In lieu of using lidocaine, the anesthesia folks can give you other sedations prior to induction of propofol so that you won't care if the propofol burns (to put it simply). They have ways to make your experience more comfortable. Best wishes for your future surgeries.
30 Aug 2013
Today, I had an endoscopy and underwent sedation with propofol. I experienced exactly the same thing that you described. The anesthetist told me to expect some burning but the sensation that I experience for those 15 seconds was the worse pain of my life. I also screamed so don't feel bad!
Good luck with the next procedure. Maybe ask them to try a little Lidocaine before or to use a mask induction.
31 Aug 2013
I experienced the same feeling with Phenergan the last time I was hospitalized. I had been vomiting for days and had yet to get PICC line, as my veins hardly last a minute. They had temporary IV in crook of wrist and the nurse told me it would burn, but she had to push it slow to avoid blowing the vein. I screamed so loud other nurses came running to my room to see what was wrong. To make matters worse, it continued to burn after she finished pushing as it had to make its way up the vein. After several hours and still no PICC line, had to get more Phenergan and that one blew the vein b4 it was all administered. I was at a supposedly "Full Service" hospital, but, unable to get a PICC line on weekend. Give me a break, for those of us with virtually NO good veins left, every minute without a line can be horrible!!
16 Oct 2013
I just had my 9th Spinal epidural today, and I also experienced the same thing, prompting me to ask the anesthesiologist what was causing the burning sensation. He remarked that, "Propofol is very acidic and conflicts with the natural alkalinity of your body, therefore the increase in pH causes said burning sensation, that is until you're completely unconscious lol." Hope that helped :)
23 Oct 2014
I work in a GI clinic. I have been giving anesthesia for many years. There is no excuse for you anesthesia provider not to give lidocaine prior to propofol.
Propofol burns like fire.
They only reason I can think of, for lidocaine not being given, is the provider was to lazy to draw it up. This makes me very angry! I try to treat my patients, like I would want my family treated. I am so sorry for this bad experience. There is no excuse for it, and this pain could have been prevented!!
11 Mar 2015
I had a very similar experience today during my colonoscopy. They always have trouble finding my veins, so when trying the IV they stuck me completely in two different places on my right arm and naturally put the bp cuff on the left arm. They later had to end up switching to a wrist IV on my left arm, I told them I didn't mind.
They finish and wheel me in for the procedure, and tell me they are ready for the sedative and I close my eyes and prepare myself for the "slight burn" they said would come. And right then my bp cuff inflates.
The sedative hits my veins in my arm and my whole arm is on fire. Like blowtorch to my skin fire. And I clench my eyes and wait a few seconds for it to pass, and it doesn't. And I'm nearly screaming in agony, starting to roll around on the bed, and finally a nurse realizes my bp cuff is inflated and keeping the propofol in my arm instead of diffusing. I swear my arm was on fire with the most horrible pain I have ever felt in my life for at least a 40 seconds. After hearing lidocaine is commonly used to numb beforehand, I'm a little upset no one thought of that to begin with for me. Someone did an oops, and at the moment I wanted nothing more than to punch someone. And then I instantly fell asleep. Lol
6 Dec 2015
Every single surgery I have had the same problem. Recently during a colonoscopy I was talking to the doctor and before I knew it I was awake and so relaxed. It turns out that if they inject a little lidocaine first, you don't feel any burning at all! And if they don't ask you to count backwards it turns out to be a pleasant experience. If you ever have surgery again ask them before they put you out to inject some lidocaine into the iv.
7 Jan 2016
It happened to me when I had my colonoscopy done last year. Yeah, I screamed like a little girl too. I've never felt a burn like that, ever. I was not warned that it could possibly burn when they added the Propophol to my IV line.
I asked my PCP why that happened and he said that the propphol may have missed going into the vein, completely, and therefor could have caused the burning sensation 'till I passed out. Lol, "A Burning Sensation." It felt more like I was burning to death.
Next time you need a drug to put you out, you may want to demand they don't use Propophol. I said I did not want Propophol but they said that is all they use and was all they had. Not true. Don't have any procedure done if they want to use Propophol. Don't forget to ask ahead of time about the sedative they're going too use, in advance.
4 Mar 2016
As other folks have said, your doctor could inject some lidocaine first to reduce some of the pain. That being said, I had a colonoscopy yesterday. I am so thankful to you and to this group because I had the exact same experience. I was told that "it would burn." Some burning I can handle. Instead I was met with extreme pain that took me by surprise. My entire hand was in pain like I cannot describe. Before reading all the input that you and other wonderful folks here had given, I thought I was some sort of "wuss" or however one spells that. I didn't scream, I just grit my teeth and told the doc that it was waaaaay more than a burn. I do want to say that he HAD given me some lidocaine (sp?) first, but perhaps not enough. I am a chronic pain patient. I'm used to pain. But that pain was just plain awful. Thank you Rixiesmom and everyone else here who made me realize that I'm not some cry baby!
2 Jul 2016
I have had 4 colonoscopies, 2 endoscopies, and about 8 cystoscopies with sedation. They all involved Propofol and lidocaine, although I didn't realize until reading this that the 2 were related. I have never experienced any pain with the injection. I usually do ask for the IV to be placed at my wristbone or higher, just because it is painful to get in the back of the hand, and usually leaves a bad bruise. I had a colonoscopy yesterday, and I did notice that the nurse-anesthetist pushed the Propofol quickly. I didn't feel any burning, but did feel a warm sensation at the back of my throat before passing out.
- Propofol Information for Consumers
- Propofol Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Propofol (detailed)
Search for questions
Still looking for answers? Try searching for what you seek or ask your own question.
What are substitutes? When should I speak to the anesthesiologist?
1 answer • 1 Oct 2009
... hours, with 3 hour recovery. Will I remember any of the recovery? Will I be aware of the intubation tube as it is removed? Will I likely be ...
1 answer • 17 Nov 2009
The last thing I remember was the anesthesiologist telling me I may feel "a slight sunburn feeling at site of injection." All I can think ...
1 answer • 13 Aug 2013
i had propofol injected while having surgery for a stent inserted for kidney stones. The IV was not properly in my veins and when the Propofol was ...
1 answer • 7 Sep 2013
Hi. I need to schedule a colonoscopy/endoscopy and all the doctors I have spoken with use propofol. I've read that it's a very strong ...
1 answer • 31 Oct 2013