Fear of anesthesia probably starts with people chatting about surgery. Somebody mentions, say, a neighbor’s uncle’s best friend who recently went under the knife and had a bad experience under anesthesia.
Sooner or later, the discussion involves how sick many others are after surgery due to “harsh” anesthesia.
Result? Medical researchers at the American Society of Anesthesiologists crunched the numbers of patients awaiting surgery and found that one in four may put off cosmetic surgery for fear of anesthesia, including:
- A nose job
- A face and neck lift
- A non-surgical nose job
Why such fear? According to Washington, D.C. anesthesiologist John Dombrowski, M.D. the fear stems from:
- A lack of understanding about anesthesia
- Basic apprehension about any anesthesia
“A patient is about forty times more likely to be struck by lightning than dying from anesthesia-caused complications,” said Dr. Dombrowski.
We’ve always remarked to our patients they are safer in an accredited surgery center — and attended to by a board-certified anesthesiologist — than they are traveling in a car on the freeway driving to the surgery center.
We always tell cosmetic plastic surgery patients the anesthesiologist will call the night before surgery to go over the procedure and order of events. So that is the perfect time to ask about any apprehensions of pain they may have.
Also, mention what drugs have, and have not, worked in the patient’s past.
If you’ve been sick during or after a past operation, share that too.
Make sure both the surgeon and anesthesiologist know:
- What prescriptions medications you currently take
- Also mention any herbal preparations, vitamins or homeopathic drugs you take.
Some of the above – especially herbs in all their forms – can interfere with the medications used in:
- Blood clotting
- The healing process
It’s important because modern medicine now has better techniques and anesthesia, some of which are very mild as well as other great medications, including tablets and injections which have made nausea and vomiting after surgery unusual indeed.
Bottom line: the practice of anesthesiology is about keeping patients safe and comfortable. If you think the approach of your surgery date is going to disturb your sleep or cause anxiety, your surgeon can prescribe for you a:
- Sleeping pill
(See a face lift patient wake alert and talking in four minutes and ready to go home after only 75 minutes of recovery.)