Anesthesia in Plastic Surgery: Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid

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Anesthesia in Plastic Surgery: Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid


Plastic surgery is getting more popular and available than ever throughout the world. 

The advances in plastic surgery have been furthered thanks to the progress in anesthesiology, making it the vital tool which helped the surgical process.

Unlike fifteen years ago, nowadays it is possible to perform complext and long surgeries on patients with pathologies or anesthesia risks. How so? New anesthetics and drugs are available day by day, enabling prevention of complications during and post-surgery.

Is Plastic Surgery Safe for Me? 

“Primum non nocere” is a phrase in Latin that means “first, to do no harm”.

At Cygnus Clinic, before any elective plastic surgery, you will be asked to complete a physical examination by our general physician as well as series of blood tests. All of your results will be carefully reviewed by our doctor and primary care physician to assure that you are healthy. With such tests completed, complications of plastic surgery are very rare.

It is fundamental that no plastic surgery procedure is performed without the presence of a qualified and experienced anesthesiologist.

The pre-anesthetic evaluation is made several days in advance. Most patients coming to Cygnus Clinic are in good shape. Sometimes, we also have patients who are overweight or some who suffer light chronical illnesses.

However, no matter the physical condition, a complete clinical history and detailed physical examination of each patient are necessary in the pre-anesthetic assessment.

This evaluation is made a few days prior to the surgery, and is a crucial instrument for the medical team, because it gives them the chance to know the patient, their environment, and the reasons that led to surgery.

It is also important for the patients and their families as it gives them the opportunity to discuss the prejudices and doubts about anesthesia. 

What are the different kinds of anesthesia? 

In plastic surgery, the anesthesia used are: GeneralLocal anesthesia, and/or Conscious sedation. All of these techniques allow the patients a short stay (either one night or discharge on the same day of surgery).

The most suitable anesthesia type for your procedure will be determined by your cosmetic surgeon, anesthesiologist, and you. As you scroll down, you will find out more about which techniques are used for different plastic surgery procedures.

What are the risks of anesthesia? 

Research-based and technological progress in patient safety have made the risks associated with anesthesia very low. When assessing the risks of complications in plastic surgery, four general aspects should be considered:

  • Features of the facility where the procedure is performed
  • Type of surgery and surgeon
  • Physical condition of the patient
  • Quality of anesthesiology care

For all Cygnus Clinic patients, the most common side effect of anesthesia is mild nausea. This effect is considered to be completely normal and go away by the day after the surgery. 

General anesthesia

General anesthesia can be used in all plastic surgery procedures as long as it fulfills all rules of safety.

General anesthesia techniques are used in procedures lasting no more than three hours, otherwise the higher the dose of the anesthetic, the more postoperative the nausea and delirium. This technique is also applied in patients who reject regional techniques. Plastic surgery procedures that are usually performed with general anesthesia include: rhinoplasty, breast surgeries, liposuction, abdominoplasty, brachioplasty, butt lift, etc.

Is it safe?

General anesthesia is very safe, and has advanced greatly over the past several years.

Regardless of that, approval of general anesthesia for patients must be done meticulously, excluding cases with chronic illnesses. However, even in some illnesses, it is sometimes possible to perform plastic surgery as long as precautions are taken to avoid potential complications for each disease.

Will I wake up during surgery?

No, you won’t. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), awareness under general anesthesia- is reported less than 0.1% of the time. The time that is actually reported is in high-risk patient populations, such as sick cardiac patients that could not be given enough anesthesia to cause them to be amnestic or lose consciousness completely. But hold on, we are talking about plastic surgery patients here, so no worries!

Regional anesthesia

The most common techniques of regional anesthesia are the local anesthesia and the epidural and spinal block.

Local anesthesia is performed by the plastic surgeon in patients undergoing minimal invasion such as otoplasty, blepharoplasty, chin implant etc. Its effect is numbness on the area where the procedure will be performed, therefore, eliminating any pain.

Epidural Block & Spinal Block

Both the epidural and spinal block are indicated in the same group of surgery and mostly applied in the cases of lower body procedures, such as abdominoplasty, liposuction, butt lift, leg lift etc.

The main advantages of regional techniques over the general anesthesia are: producing less nausea, less vomiting, and lighter postoperative pain.

Conscious sedation

The purpose of conscious sedation is to reduce a patient’s anxiety and have them in a calm state which allows the surgeon to inject local anesthetics and safely perform the surgery with comfort for the patient.

 The most common procedures under sedation include hair transplantation, dermabrasion with laser, liposuction of small areas, face and neck procedures, and fat grafting. A clear point to understand is that the sedation technique itself  is not anesthesia. Therefore, in order to reduce pain, it is controlled by the surgeon through combining it with local anesthesia.

What anesthesia is applied if I do multiple procedures at the same time?

Today, it is common to combine two or more plastic surgery procedures (breast lift and butt lift) and therefore, the anesthetic measure must be adapted accordingly.

For instance, let’s say that for butt lift alone a spinal block is applied. If we add the breast lift procedure, a general anesthesia is more preferred so that the patient is not uncomfortable with the multiple movements and noises during the work. This would also affect my work- focus.” answers Dr. Ozgür.

This fact could be decided before the anesthesia, and in some patients, it is modified during surgery. For this reason, it is crucial to explain the benefits and risks of each anesthetic procedure.

To sum up…

Cosmetic surgeries can likely be performed with any anesthetic procedure. The anesthesia that will be required depends on the type of surgery you will be having. As we saw above, some plastic surgeries require general anesthetic, and others require only local anesthesia with sedation. With some procedures, our doctors will offer you a choice, depending on your wellbeing and preferences.

Cygnus Clinic’s priority is the patients’ safety at the time of anesthesia-surgery and during its immediate recovery, regardless of where the surgery is performed. Now that you are familiarized with the safety concerns of anesthesia, please contact us for the type of plastic surgery you would like to have, and we will be more than happy to help YOU!


İyi görün. İyi hisset.


İyi görün. İyi hisset.