What you Need to Know About Anesthesia

In: Health

2 Sep 2009

If you have been thinking about having cosmetic surgery, you’ve probably devoted a lot of time to thinking about the benefits and possible risks of the procedure. One aspect of surgery your may have overlooked is the matter of anesthesia. Most surgery requires some form of anesthesia for pain relief.

Before you have any type of cosmetic procedure, you should learn more about the type of anesthesia you will need and what using that kind of pain relief will mean. There are three different types of anesthesia that may be used during cosmetic surgery:

• Local
• Regional
• General

Local Anesthesia

What is Local Anesthesia?

Local anesthesia involves injecting a numbing agent into a localized area. The area that will be affected by the surgery receives anesthesia to block pain sensation. Local anesthesia is only used during surgeries that are fairly minor and that only involve a small area of the body. In many cases, you will be able to remain awake and alert during the procedure. However, some surgeries require the use of sedation that will allow you to relax or even sleep through the surgery.

Regional Anesthesia

What is Regional Anesthesia?

Regional anesthesia also involves blocking sensation to a limited area of the body. Instead of injecting an anesthetic directly into the affected area, doctors inject a pain blocker into the nerves in the spinal cord. This allows for pain relief in a larger area of the body, such as the legs, abdomen and arms. If this type of anesthesia is used during your surgery, you will probably receive some type of sedation to allow you to relax and sleep during the procedure.

General AnesthesiaWhat is General Anesthesia?

General anesthesia is used during many types of major or invasive surgeries. This type of anesthesia is administered by injection into a vein or through inhalation. Unlike the other types of pain relief, general anesthesia affects both your body and your brain. Patients are rendered completely unconscious so that they do not experience pain during surgery.

Before You Have Surgery

While most people spend a great deal of time considering different aspects of their surgery, anesthesia is usually only an afterthought. Before you have any type of cosmetic surgery, from a minor procedure such as laser hair removal to an invasive treatment such as a body lift, you should always discuss a pain management plan with your doctor.

Discuss your medical history with your doctor and be sure to explain any and all medication you may be currently taking. Talk about what kind of anesthesia you will need during the procedure and the effects it may have. Many patients experience both extreme grogginess and amnesia as they are emerging from general anesthesia, and you should ensure that you receive the appropriate aftercare during this time.


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Blog invites submissions of review articles, reports on clinical techniques, case reports, conference summaries, and articles of opinion pertinent to the control of pain and anxiety in dentistry.