Plastic surgery without general anesthesia

The type of anesthesia used for plastic surgery procedures ranges from local anesthesia to general anesthesia depending on the procedure performed and surgeon and anesthesiologist preference.

With advancement of anesthetic techniques, many procedures that were once thought to require general anesthesia are now being performed safely and effectively with a lighter level of sedation.

For example, almost all of Dr. Yates cosmetic plastic surgery procedures are done under sedation without general anesthesia.  This includes breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction, and abdominoplasty to name a few.  We are very progressive with our anesthetic techniques.  (see our video gallery for a video demonstration)

The technique involves a deep level of sedation and well placed local anesthetic.  A board certified anesthesiologist administers a deep level of IV sedation with appropriate monitoring.  Dr. Yates injects a specific amount of local anesthetic mixture in specific locations after the patient is sedated.  The surgical site is “numb” during the duration of the surgery lasting well after the patient has recovered.  The depth of sedation can be decreased when operating in a numb area reducing the amount of anesthetic necessary.

The risks of complications associated with general anesthesia are minimized, including severe complications such as blood clots (DVT’s), pulmonary embolism, and malignant hyperthermia.

The patients experience after surgery is significantly improved.

  • Local anesthetic is still present in the surgical site to “numb” the area during the critical first few otherwise painful hours after surgery.
  • The need for pain medications immediately after surgery can be reduced.
  • The amount of IV or inhalational anesthetic is reduced resulting in less post operative nausea and vomiting.
  • The type of anesthetic used is metabolized quickly resulting in a quicker recovery.  In fact, patients walk to recovery from the operating bed.

There is nothing “wrong” with using general anesthesia for these plastic surgery procedures.  We choose to use sedation because we have developed techniques that allow us to do them safely, effectively, and without some of the added risks involved with general anesthesia.

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Dr. York Yates
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