Going into surgery can be pretty daunting, even if it’s for an exciting and long-awaited plastic surgery procedure. Some patients are so nervous about their procedures that they choose to go under general anesthesia, so that they don’t have to be aware of anything that is happening.
We offer both general anesthesia and local anesthesia for plastic surgery for most of our procedures. Which one is truly best for the procedure usually depends on how extensive the surgery is. For example, larger scale plastic surgeries such as breast augmentations, and tummy tucks are usually done under general anesthesia. However, when a procedure is smaller such as a blepharoplasty and some liposuction procedures can be done under local anesthesia. Read more to learn about the benefits of local vs general anesthesia for plastic surgery.
When a patient undergoes general anesthesia, they are given a mix of drugs that put the patient into a very deep sleep and paralyzes their body. To continue normal bodily functions, the patient is placed on a respirator and an endotracheal tube is placed in the throat to assist with breathing.
Under this state, the patient is not able to feel, see, or recognize anything that is happening to them, which for some people can be very comforting. Afterward, they are not able to remember anything about the procedure. Unfortunately, the risk for complications is greater under general anesthesia, and patients are much more likely to experience side effects such as a sore throat from the tube, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Recovery is also more extensive after a surgery with general anesthesia, since the body has to recover from the anesthesia as well as from the surgery. Typically, it is necessary to stay at the outpatient facility for at least 24 hours to recover from the effects of the general anesthesia.
Like previously stated, some procedures require general anesthesia, simply because of the scope of the surgery, and the need for a more general body paralysis for operation.
When a patient undergoes local anesthesia, The areas in which is being operated on is numbed. Though the patient remains awake and aware.
In this state, a patient may talk to the surgeon and nurses, answer questions, and relay any feelings of physical discomfort. Despite being aware, the patient will feel no pain in the area being worked on, although they may feel some pulling or tugging.
Under local anesthesia, the body does not undergo any extra stress and is therefore typically considered the safer alternative. Side effects may include nausea, bruising, redness, itching, or swelling near the site of the anesthesia injection.
Local Vs. General Anesthesia For Plastic Surgery
Weighing the benefits of local vs. general anesthesia for various plastic surgery procedures is very important, and it’s definitely a conversation that patients should have with their doctors before undergoing plastic surgery. Knowing which sedation option is right for you may come down to what procedure you are having, how comfortable you are with the procedure, the process of recovery, or the cost of sedation. Feel free to schedule a free consultation with Dr. David Zabel to discuss your options.