The Myth Behind Andre The Giant's Anesthesia Story

A figure as legendary as Andre the Giant is bound to have a number of tall tales surrounding his life and career. One of the most persistent urban legends is that the anesthesiologist for Andre's 1987 back surgery was unsure of how much anesthetic to give the big man, as per New York Post


The anesthesiologist reportedly based the amount he administered on how much alcohol Andre drank on a regular basis. Like many of the stories surrounding Andre, it's difficult to separate reality from myth. 

However, some reports state that this tale is actually true. 

The story goes that WWF owner Vince McMahon was eager to bring Andre back to the company as a heel to face off against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III in Pontiac, Michigan. Andre, who had just finished filming "The Princess Bride," was not so eager to make a return, citing the debilitating pain in his back. 

McMahon persisted, however, and flew out to Europe to meet with Andre in person, which Shane McMahon revealed in an interview. Vince McMahon offered to pay for surgery to fix the Giant's back and even opened up his home to Andre for his rehabilitation after the surgery.


Andre goes under

Upon receiving the offer, Andre the Giant agreed to get the surgery. However, when the time came to operate on Andre, a number of experts were brought in to examine him, specifically to figure out how much anesthesia he would need to get put under for the duration of the surgery. None of these experts had dealt with a man of his size, and no conclusion was drawn until one doctor came up with the idea of figuring out the dosage by how much Andre drank each day.


It is said that Andre replied, "It usually takes two liters of vodka just to make me feel warm inside." Once the doctors learned the reportedly colossal amount of beer, wine, and liquor Andre drank, they were able to make an educated guess on the level of anesthesia. 

Just a few months later, Andre and Hogan met in the squared circle in front of an attendance record of between 78,500 and 88,000 fans at WrestleMania III, culminating in the legendary "slam heard 'round the world."