If the prospect of “going under” is keeping you from committing to the cosmetic plastic surgery you know could make a dramatic difference in your life, consider this: We are performing more and more surgical procedures, like neck lifts and even facelifts, under local anesthesia.
This is a trend Davis Cosmetic Plastic Surgery has practiced for a decade now. Lately, this has gained momentum as plastic surgeons refine their techniques and patients become more enamored with the range of benefits, including that surgery under local anesthesia is less physically taxing, less costly, and, for many, far less intimidating.
Having the option to undergo a growing list of plastic surgery procedures (mini lifts, brow lifts, eyelid lifts, lip lifts, rhinoplasty, breast lifts, and breast implant removals) is making these procedures more accessible to a segment of patients we see who can’t go under general anesthesia, whether because they’re taking a blood thinner or for other medical problems.
But, for most, local anesthesia simply creates a chance to enhance their appearance without worrying about the potential side effects of general anesthesia, including post-operative nausea and vomiting, which is estimated to affect a third of surgical patients. Vomiting after surgery can also lead to increased bruising and swelling, which can lengthen the recovery period.
How Local Anesthesia Works
Local anesthesia affects nerves on a cellular level, shutting down pain receptors so that a patient doesn’t feel anything other than a bit of pressure. A critical difference between local and general anesthesia is that local numbs only the area where it’s injected, while general anesthesia—usually a cocktail of drugs administered through intravenous injection—renders a patient completely unconscious and unable to feel anything.
The most common local anesthesia we use is lidocaine. If you’ve ever had facial filler, you’re probably familiar with its effects because it’s frequently mixed in with the injectable to minimize discomfort at the injection sites.
For more invasive procedures, including surgery, we often use oral sedation, such as Valium, along with local anesthesia. Our goal is to have the patient feel fairly awake, but very relaxed and comfortable. After feeling a few pinches when the local anesthesia is injected, the discomfort is minimal. And then you shouldn’t feel much of anything in that area for a few hours, when the anesthesia finally wears off.
As you consider your plastic surgery options, please know we at Davis Cosmetic Plastic Surgery are here to guide and advise you when it comes to your options and to ensure to receive your desired results.
Please contact us with any questions, or if you wish to have a consultation with Dr. Davis and our staff.