Whichever cosmetic surgical procedure you have done, it will require anesthesia as it is an integral part of your surgical experience to make it painless and anxiety-free. With general anesthesia the patient is put to sleep. This anesthesia is usually associated with “bigger” operations. With local anesthesia , a specific area of the body is numbed by the local injection of medication at the site where the surgery will be performed.
Today, with the great advances in anesthesia, an entire spectrum exists between local and general anesthesia to eliminate pain and minimize anxiety. Here’s how it works:
Before the operation, an anesthesiologist visits the patient. A sedative or tranquilizer(Valium, for example), may be given orally. This induces a pleasant state of drowsiness.A thin intravenous catheter is inserted into a vein in the arm. This open pipeline is imperative during any surgery, should the patient require additional medication for any reason. Additional sedation may be given through the intravenous catheter. This allows the local anesthesia (given in the operating room) to be injected without any unpleasant sensations. The local anesthesia is then injected into the area where the operation will take place, along with a small amount of adrenaline, which causes the blood vessels of the area to constrict. This helps to minimize bleeding, while the anesthetic “blocks” or “freezes” the tissues so no pain is felt.
The drowsiness induced by the intravenous sedative may become a twilight sleep. Some patients experience a sense of well-being bordering on euphoria. Others may feel completely unconscious, even though, medically speaking, they are only lightly anesthetized. They can respond to commands and even answer questions. When performing cosmetic surgery on the face, most surgeons prefer this state to total unconsciousness because the operation is done on a face that is not completely relaxed.(The muscles of a deeply anesthetized face are so relaxed that they lose their usual tone.) The patients wakefulness also allows the surgeon to give commands (look up; look down; open your mouth; show me your teeth, raise your eyebrows), and the amount of excess tissue to be removed is more easily estimated.
Another advantage of sedation is that medications may be used to block out all memory of the operation. The patient recalls either a pleasant twilight state or remembers nothing. The patient is comfortably relaxed during the operation. Breathing, heartbeat, and other vital functions remain strong and steady the entire time. Some patients prefer being put to sleep. They want their surgery in a state of complete oblivion, wishing to wake up without any memory of the operation.
Others prefer being fully aware of everything in the operating room. They want to retain a sense of control over mind and body, wishing to recall the surgery clearly and completely. These patients may request minimal sedation – enough for relaxation – but not enough to cause drowsiness.
A pain-free procedure does not guarantee that there will be no anxiety. Some find lying or sitting back (in a dental chair in an operating room) very trying, even though it is painless. There is no need to endure anxiety during an operation! It is important to know that the combination of anesthetics can alleviate this. By regulating the amount of sedative given, the patient can be made to feel comfortably anxiety-free while surgery proceeds painlessly.