Pros and Cons of Different Types of Anesthesia

By on May 13, 2021 under Plastic Surgery

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Anesthesia

Anesthesia is just one consideration that comes up when planning a plastic surgery procedure. For a new patient, understanding the difference between different types of anesthesia will help them know what to expect during and after their surgery.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is always administered in an operating room, surgery center, or hospital. Through general anesthesia, patients are completely unconscious and will have no memory of their procedure. Typically, general anesthesia is used for lengthy or complicated procedures, such as a rhinoplasty or facelift, or a combination of procedures, such as a facelift paired with blepharoplasty. Your plastic surgeon or anesthesiologist may also suggest this option for those with medical issues that prevent in-office procedures.

Pros of General Anesthesia

With general anesthesia, you will be completely asleep throughout the procedure and have no memory of the surgery. It is often a safer option, especially for nasal surgeries, because the airway is completely controlled. Throughout a procedure under general anesthesia, you will also have an anesthesiologist to monitor your wellbeing and comfort level.

Cons of General Anesthesia

General anesthesia has some risks of side effects such as nausea, and using general anesthesia means that your recovery time will be longer overall. In addition, general anesthesia is more costly than other options.

IV Sedation 

From the patient’s perspective, IV sedation and general anesthesia is essentially the same. The primary difference is that less medication overall is used compared to general anesthesia. IV sedation is not offered in-office at FacesFirst.

Pros of IV Sedation

The primary benefit of IV sedation compared to general anesthesia is that there is no tube in the airway, which can mean avoiding side effects. In terms of cost and experience, however, the two are virtually the same for the patient. Choosing between these options is typically left up to the anesthesiologist’s suggestion.

Local Anesthesia
Local anesthesia involves numbing the area around the operative site to ensure that the patient does not feel any pain throughout their procedure. Some sensation may remain, and the patient will remain awake and alert. This option can be used for a large number of less invasive or complex procedures, including mole removal, otoplasty, blepharoplasty, scar revision, or lip lift, for example.

Pros of Local Anesthesia

One of the major benefits of local anesthesia is avoiding side effects of general anesthesia or IV sedation. This also means that the recovery time is reduced for many procedures. Patients who receive local anesthesia can also typically drive themselves home after their procedure, and will find that their surgery is quicker and more convenient.

Cons of Local Anesthesia

While local anesthesia will numb any sharp pain, some sensations of movement or pressure can remain. In addition, it is possible that you will see or hear parts of the procedure, which can make patients uncomfortable.

Can I Choose Between Anesthesia Types for My Plastic Surgery Procedure?

In general, choosing between the types of anesthesia is based on a recommendation from your plastic surgeon and an anesthesiologist. Your plastic surgeon will take your preferences into consideration during a consultation; for example, some procedures can be done under local anesthesia, but a patient may prefer to be asleep throughout their surgery. However, more complicated procedures such as a rhinoplasty must be done under general anesthesia in a surgical center or hospital. During your consultation, your plastic surgeon will explain what you can expect. Safety is the number one concern when choosing between options, and it is important to choose a plastic surgeon who you can trust.

Another consideration is where your procedure will take place. Sedation cannot be completed in-office, though medications can be given to help you relax through an in-office procedure.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about a procedure of interest, schedule a consultation at FacesFirst. Call (720) 414-3332 or contact us online to set up your appointment.