Plastic surgery has been around for many years. With each passing year, the safety standards and technology utilized during procedures become more and more advanced. One of the greatest medical revolutions that has allowed plastic surgery to exist is anesthesia. Anesthesia allows patients to undergo advanced surgical procedures while feeling virtually no pain at all.
There are a few different types of anesthesia that medical professionals use, and each is used for different types of procedures. Listed below are four forms of anesthesia and descriptions for what types of medical procedures they are typically used for:
1. General Anesthesia
This is the most common type of anesthesia used at Mia Aesthetics, and it is generally utilized for major cosmetic procedures like tummy tucks, liposuction, breast augmentations, reductions and lifts, and the Brazilian butt lift (BBL). Under general anesthesia, patients are put on a breathing machine to ensure they are taking in oxygen. Patients are fully asleep, and do not feel anything throughout their procedures. General anesthesia is typically very safe. Most patients report feeling like they fell asleep and woke up minutes later, even if the procedure lasted several hours.
There are some side effects reported with general anesthesia including temporary confusion, dizziness, difficulty passing urine, nausea and vomiting, shivering and feeling cold, and a sore throat due to the breathing tube. These symptoms generally pass a few hours after the procedure is complete. Although some patients have a fear about going under and being unconscious under general anesthesia, this is actually the safest way to undergo a complex surgery. This is because unlike some other types of anesthesia, doctors are able to completely monitor your breathing. Additionally, your lack of awareness means there is no risk of panicking, typically allowing for a smooth procedure.
Sedation is a lighter form of anesthesia. It puts patients into a sort of “twilight” zone where they are not completely unconscious, but very relaxed and not responsive to pain. This is used for more minor types of procedures. Sedation is not always as safe as general anesthesia because there is no breathing tube in place. This type of anesthesia is used less than both general and local anesthesia.
Some surgeons are especially skilled in using performing surgery while the patient is under sedation and specialize in this practice over other types. If you are especially wary of having general anesthesia administered to you, an alternative option may be to research these specialists so that you feel less nervous ahead of your procedure.
3. Local Anesthesia
Local anesthesia is used for minor procedures like biopsies, local injections and cavity removal. This type of anesthesia just puts the area being treated to sleep so that the patient feels no pain throughout the procedure. However, in local anesthesia, there is no sedation of the central nervous system, meaning the patient is still awake and aware of what is happening.
Local anesthesia is not recommended for major procedures like a tummy tuck or a Brazilian butt lift. Not only is it very uncomfortable for patients to be under local anesthesia when such a major procedure is occurring, but it also poses more potential surgical risks.
4. Regional Anesthesia
Regional anesthesia is the use of local anesthetics to block sensations of pain from a large area of the body, such as an arm or leg or the abdomen. This type of anesthesia treats a larger area than local anesthesia but does not put the patient into an unconscious state. Spinal and epidural anesthesia, used to offer pain relief to pregnant women in labor, are examples of regional anesthesia. Regional anesthesia can be used for major plastic surgery but is usually not recommended by surgeons over general anesthesia.
While there are various forms of anesthesia available, the most commonly used anesthesia in major cosmetic surgery is general anesthesia. General anesthesia allows the patient to be completely unconscious, pain-free, and allows the surgeon to monitor the patient’s breathing. However, some surgeons do offer the option of local anesthesia or sedation to patients who are afraid of being put under general anesthesia. It is up to you to research the pros and cons of each method and make an informed decision based on your preferences.