Cosmetic Surgery Patient Anesthesia Concerns

I feel fine after anesthesia, Doctor! Good-bye!

Many patients are eager for a new look, but do not look forward to dealing with anesthesia.

The problem usually is tales of Uncle Joe’s operation fifteen years ago and how sick the anesthesia made him. However, those days are gone.

Cosmetic plastic surgery – for all the joy and self-confidence it brings – is surgery which takes place in more shallow areas of the body, totally avoiding the major organs.

Also, cosmetic surgery is less disabling.

Moreover, experts say surgical advances like:


  • Smaller incisions
  • Less blood loss
  • Better instruments
  • More effective pain and anesthesia medications

help make it feasible to safely do many surgeries on an outpatient basis, especially when patients are basically healthy and have recently undergone a complete physical.

So, more and more cosmetic surgery takes place in “ambulatory” surgery centers.

In plainer language, most cosmetic surgery patients are able to walk soon after their procedures.

Those surgical centers are also known as “freestanding,” meaning they are not connected to hospitals.

Nonetheless, patients often have questions about what takes place in a surgery center, especially when it comes to anesthesia.

Much of the good news is that shorter-acting anesthesias are commonly used.

Said Steven Gayer, M.D. of the American Society of Anesthesiologists:

“Gone are the days when patients would be recuperating from anesthesia after-effects for up to 24 hours.”

Newer drugs like propofol and remifentanil wear off quicker after surgery. In many cases, local anesthesia or conscious sedation — in which patients are awake but feel no pain — are also used.

Leaving the surgical center, most patients should have:

  • Written discharge instructions covering diet, medications, permitted activities and who to call if a complication crops up.
  • Doctors are positive when you’re medically ready to go home. Blood pressure and temperature should be normal, pain and nausea should be under control with no patient dizziness.

Cosmetic plastic surgery patients who have chosen to recover at home must have somebody with them at the surgery center who:

  • Can drive them home
  • Stay with them the first night

Also, make some notes about the points you would like to discuss for a follow-up call which may come within 24 to 72 hours after surgery. Be able to report if:

  • You can’t eat
  • Drink
  • Use the toilet
  • Have a fever
  • Have bleeding, pain or nausea

BONUS: See a face and neck lift patient wake and be ready to leave an ambulatory surgical center in only 75 minutes.


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