May 2011 Newsletter
Types of Anesthesia in Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery
Anesthesia, which is used to block painful sensation during surgery, is a major area of concern for many prospective patients. Before insisting upon one particular anesthesia over another, it’s important for patients to have an understanding of what is normally administered.
Occasionally factors from your medical and health background or past experience associated with anesthetics can influence the decision, but the kind of anesthetic which is used depends upon the nature as well as extent of the operation, the preference of the surgeon and the actual wishes of the patient. Advances in monitoring equipment and improved anesthesia drugs have largely contributed to improved overall anesthesia safety. The risk of serious injury from anesthesia is statistically quite low.
Anesthesia Types- The primary function of anesthesia is to prevent pain. There are four types:
- Local anesthesia is used to prevent pain in the specific area that requires surgery. During local anesthesia, you are awake and aware of surrounding activities. This type of anesthesia may be an ointment, spray or injection.
- Sedation is administered intravenously (through a vein) and may be used with other types of anesthesia during surgery. Sedation includes a combination of medications that help prevent pain and anxiety associated with medical procedures. There are multiple levels of sedation. For example, “twilight” sedation is a common term that refers to a mid-level form of sedation. There are also deeper levels of sedation that produce effects similar to general anesthesia. generally speaking, during sedation, you are awake but sleepy, and you may not recall or sense that the procedure is being performed. It is important that you understand the sedation level to be used in your procedure.
- Regional anesthesiais a “block”, such as a spinal block that is administered to the surrounding nerves that may produce pain signals. regional anesthesia produces effects similar to those of sedation, which may be used in conjunction with regional anesthesia.
- General anesthesia is used for extensive medical procedures. General anesthesia will put you to sleep. General anesthesia prevents any pain, and you won’t remember the procedure afterward. The drugs included in general anesthesia are inhaled or injected into a vein.
There are also some other advantages of different anesthesia. For example, regional anesthesia, or spinal block when used for a tummy tuck, has less postoperative pain, less nausea, and less chance of hospitalization. It is usually combined with sedation so for all practical purposes you think you feel you’ve had general anesthesia.
Sedation is less costly, as for healthy patients, it can be administered by a monitoring nurse. Iowa Plastic Surgery has extensive experience with combining different medications. Most patients tell us they do not remember anything of the procedure.
Minor procedures such as mole removal or skin cancer removal we usually do under local anesthesia.
Blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery, some facelifts, repeat breast augmentation, and some liposuction are done under sedation.
Hand surgery or abdominoplasties are sometimes done with a regional block.
Most breast augmentations, breast lifts and larger abdominoplasties are done under general anesthesia.
Most importantly, our surgery center is accredited by the Joint Commission which also accredits hospitals. Our team of registered nurses are not only well trained, but by performing the same procedures as part of the same team, provide a high level of safety. Studies have shown familiarity decreases complications. Iowa Plastic Surgery has a full size operating room with all the monitoring and safety equipment as the hospitals. Dr. Van Raalte also has privileges at all area hospitals.
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