What Anesthesia Is Used for Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgery procedures usually require some type of anesthesia, and different options are better for certain procedures. The two anesthetics that are routinely utilized are general and local. General anesthesia can sometimes be a concern for some patients, as this method means they are in a sleep-like state. Local anesthesia, on the other hand, involves reducing sensation in a specific area, so patients typically remain awake. When patients come to our practice for their plastic surgery enhancements, many want only local and not general anesthesia; however, general anesthesia can be administered safely and is proven effective when done by a board-certified anesthesiologist. Below, we’ll highlight what type of anesthesia is used for different procedures.

Smaller operations can typically be done with just local anesthesia injected into the area that’s being operated on or addressed. Examples include moles, skin tags, laceration repairs on children, and smaller lacerations on the hand, face, or body. Fast-acting local anesthesia, called lidocaine with epinephrine, usually lasts for around two to four hours in the injected area. For slightly larger operations, local anesthesia with sedation is more commonly used. Small liposuction areas can employ this type of anesthesia. Additionally, liposculpture of small areas, like the neck or arms, can often utilize local anesthesia with sedation effectively.

When it comes to procedures like body contouring, tummy tucks, breast augmentations or lifts, full general anesthesia is used. These procedures are more invasive and typically last longer. Our practice features a fully accredited operating room and board-certified anesthesiologists. Anesthesia is safely administered, and patients are constantly monitored.

Some procedures require a more specialized technique when it comes to anesthesia. Facelifts can be performed under sedation with propofol, where patients are sedated and made comfortable while the surgeon performs the surgery. This technique has been well-established and is considered safe and effective when performed by a skilled and qualified professional.

At our practice, board-certified plastic surgeon Andrew Cohen, MD, FACS, utilizes both local and general anesthesia for a variety of enhancements. He understands which type of anesthesia is best for specific procedures, and recognizes patients’ concerns, needs, and overall cosmetic goals. For more information on available procedures, contact our office to schedule a consultation.