Local or General Anesthesia: Choices for Your Cosmetic Surgery

Local or General Anesthesia: Choices for Your Cosmetic Surgery

Anesthesia is divided into local anesthesia (LA) and general anesthesia (GA). LA is commonly used for small surgeries or procedures done in small areas. GA induces an anesthetic condition all over the body and it is usually done for deep surgeries on all parts of the body. Your surgeon will be the best person to discuss what type of anesthesia you can use for your plastic surgery. However, we have listed a few pros and cons for each option so that you can make an informed decision.

  • Local Anesthesia or LA – LA is very safe and simple. The anesthetic is injected into a small area and the doctor can work on a small part of the patient’s body. LA is recommended for minor procedures like setting a fracture, placing stitches, dental extractions, etc. Deaths are extremely rare with the use of LA. However, complications like allergic reactions, etc. are seen with the use of LA.
  • General Anesthesia or GA – GA is one of the most common methods used to keep a patient comfortable during surgery. GA is relatively safe but complications like lung infections, strokes, heart attacks, anesthesia awareness, etc. are a few of the rare complications that may occur during GA. A few studies have also linked GA with cognitive problems. Fatalities are not common but elderly patients do seem to have a higher fatality rate with the use of GA. Patients who smoked, drank, were diabetics, etc. were also more likely to face complications and fatalities with the use of GA. Surgeons recommend the use of GA during facelifts, breast augmentation, abdominal surgery, tummy tucks, etc.

Choosing LA vs. GA

Your surgeon is the only person who can recommend LA or GA for your particular surgery. Please note that there are variations on LA and GA and your surgeon may recommend a variation like ‘awake surgery’ or intravenous IV and LA depending on the complexity of your surgery. Although all of these options are completely viable but you should do your research before choosing an option for your surgery. Be particularly careful about these following factors:

  • Ask your doctor for options. For example, spinal anesthetic may work for a few cosmetic surgery procedures.
  • Check your family history for adverse reactions to LA or GA.
  • Follow the doctor’s instructions about eating before surgery.
  • Make sure you stop alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes at least a week or two before your surgery.
  • Discuss any chronic health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure with your doctor.

You should also know that each person has a unique metabolism. There have been cases where GA has not worked on a particular patient and the same can be said for LA. Similarly, problems can arise during the use of both, LA and GA, resulting in medical complications. We recommend you discuss your case with your surgeon and your anesthesiologist and choose an option that suits your needs.