One of the most common questions asked by our plastic surgery patients is whether they will have to undergo general anesthesia:
“Will I need general anesthesia for my tummy tuck?”
“Does a breast augmentation require general anesthesia?”
“What anesthesia methods does your plastic surgeon use for a mommy makeover?”
Awake Plastic Surgery with IV Sedation vs General Anesthesia
While many people don’t like the idea of “going under,” some might prefer it to being awake while they are operated on. But which is better – general anesthesia or awake plastic surgery?
The good news is that you can almost always have it the way you prefer. Anesthesia methods have greatly evolved and can be customized to almost any situation. You might be surprised to learn that most plastic surgery does not require general anesthesia and can be performed using a method called IV sedation, coupled with a local anesthetic. It means that the patient is placed under intravenous (IV) sedation while the area to be operated on is numbed. Throughout the procedure the patient stays relaxed and comfortable, sedated but awake. There is no need for the whole body to be paralyzed as it is under general anesthesia. Most patients find that awake plastic surgery improves their experience.
In addition to allowing patients to stay awake if they prefer it, a breast augmentation or tummy tuck under IV sedation has other advantages too.
Faster recovery after your plastic surgery:
Local anesthesia does not put the body under the same stress as general anesthesia. Since fewer drugs are needed to sedate you, you will recover much faster after awake plastic surgery. You get to walk out of the doctor’s office on your own, and you typically won’t be bothered by any nausea. Avoiding general anesthesia can cut down your recovery time to 3-5 days from as much as 2 weeks.
Reduced risk during plastic surgery:
Breast augmentations and tummy tucks are two of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the United States, with nearly 300,000 breast augmentations performed annually, and about half that number of tummy tucks (for more detail see statistics by the American Society of Plastic Surgery). This means they are routine operations and carry little risk. However, there is always some risk involved in undergoing general anesthesia, as it puts more stress on your heart and lungs in particular. If it’s not strictly necessary, why not lower any possible risk of complications even further by choosing awake plastic surgery?
Affordable plastic surgery procedure:
Each type of doctor’s office is equipped to administer a certain level of anesthesia. Being able to administer general anesthesia requires a more elaborate setup, like what you’ll find in a hospital, and such facilities are expensive to run. Awake plastic surgery with IV sedation is easier to administer and will therefore keep your plastic surgery procedure on a more manageable budget.
At NuBody Concepts, we firmly believe that each and every patient is unique and requires a unique approach. This is why we have anesthesia options available for you. Our goal is to give you the results you want with a procedure that is safe and easy. We also want you to recover as quickly as possible so you can return to your regular activities. In most cases, our combination of IV sedation and local anesthesia achieves this perfectly. If you aren’t sure what’s best for you, schedule a consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon and make sure you bring your list of questions.
For those who’d rather not know what’s going on during a cosmetic procedure, general anesthesia may be the way to go. You go under, wake up again, and have your new body. Just be aware that your recovery might take a little longer that way.
For those who are bothered by the idea of being put under, we hope that we have shown that there is no need for worry. Whichever way you’d like to shape and contour your body, it can almost certainly be done in a way that keeps you comfortable, safe, and awake.