One of the main concerns of patients considering facial rejuvenation procedures is the need for general anesthesia. Although general anesthesia today is extremely safe, it can lead to increase in some complications including postoperative nausea and vomiting, deep venous thrombosis, myocardial depression, and prolonged recovery from the anesthesia medications.
However, facial rejuvenations can be performed today without general anesthesia or even IV sedation. Advances in the use of local anesthesia and oral sedation can make these procedures extremely comfortable for most patients. The procedure with local anesthesia can be combined for very effective oral sedatives to reduce the anxiety of being “awake”.
What are the benefits of awake facelift procedures?
After an awake facelift procedures, patients do not have the prolonged hangover typically seen in general or IV sedation procedures. The procedure takes between 2 – 3 1/2 hours. Afterwards, patients can comfortably walk to the recovery room and be ready to go home with minimal convalescence.
There are no limitations from performing the procedure under local anesthesia. A full SMAS face and neck lift procedure can be performed in this fashion having to limit the effectiveness of the procedure.
There are also no undue risks being taken by performing the procedure under local anesthesia. Although the procedure can take a bit longer to perform in order to keep the patient comfortable and care must be taken to ensure a safe dose of local anesthesia is used, these additional steps will never compromise the safety of the patient.
Choosing the Right Anesthesia
Not all facial rejuvenation candidates are good candidates for local anesthesia. The main limitation are those patients that may suffer more anxiety than usual. Another limitations are patients that are performing several procedures at once. A procedure of around 3 hours is optimal for awake anesthesia. Longer procedures may require IV sedation to ensure the patient is comfortable throughout.
There can be a significant cost reduction with awake procedures due to the procedure not requiring an Anesthesiologist or Nurse Anesthetist to perform.
Dr. Thomassen’s goals are for his facial rejuvenation patients to have the best experience possible with excellent natural results. The choice of anesthesia is one that can be discussed in depth in order to ensure these goals are met to the utmost extent.
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