Anaesthesia & Sedation
Anaesthesia refers to the use of medication to prevent a patient from feeling pain during surgery. There are three types of anaesthesia: general anaesthesia, which renders the patient completely unconscious, regional anaesthesia, which numbs the region of the body that will be targeted by surgery, and local anaesthesia, which numbs only the surgical site itself. The type of anaesthetic used during your procedure will depend on your overall health, your age, your medical history, and the procedure or procedures you are having.
With the exception of local anaesthetic, which may be injected by your surgeon, anaesthesia must be administered by a specially-trained doctor, i.e. an anesthesiologist, or nurse, i.e. an anesthesiologist,. This specialist will also be responsible for monitoring your breathing and heart rate during your procedure.
Potential Side Effects
Although the side effects of anaesthesia are relatively rare, they do exist. These include nausea and vomiting, damage to the teeth, allergic reactions, headaches, backaches and negative and potentially fatal cardiovascular and respiratory effects. It is essential that you disclose your full medical history and that you follow your pre- and post-operative instructions to the letter. These will include not eating or drinking after midnight on the day before your surgery and not smoking. Please consult with your surgeon to determine whether or not you should continue taking specific medications, vitamins, or supplements.
Because the effects of anaesthesia take some time to fully wear off, you must have someone pick you up after your procedure, and we recommend that you have trusted friends or relatives care for you in the following days.
General anaesthesia renders the patient completely unconscious. You will not see, feel, or hear anything during your procedure. Based on your personal health history and the type of surgery you are having, your anesthesiologist will determine whether your anaesthetic drugs should be delivered intravenously or through an anaesthetic mask. Patients often have a breathing apparatus inserted into their mouths to ensure that they continue to breathe properly throughout the procedure.
General anaesthesia is the most common type of anaesthesia used during major invasive cosmetic surgeries such as full tummy tucks.
Regional anaesthesia does not render the patient unconscious. Instead, the part of the patient’s body that will undergo surgery is numbed by the injection of drugs that block the nerve impulses in that region. Patients who are given this type of anaesthesia might also be given drugs that produce drowsiness in order to make them more comfortable. The two most common forms of regional anaesthesia used in cosmetic surgery are the spinal anaesthetic and the epidural anaesthetic, both of which numb the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. The patient may undergo sedation at the same time that the anaesthetic is administered.
- Epidural Anaesthesia: Anaesthesia is administered via a small, thin tube called a catheter into the outermost layer of the spinal column, also known as the epidural space, in the lower back. Commonly used during childbirth, epidural anaesthetics are also administered to patients undergoing surgery in the pelvic area, and may be used during procedures such as vaginoplasty.
- Spinal Anaesthesia: Anaesthesia is injected into the spinal canal, which is located in the lower back and refers to the fluid that surrounds the spine. This form of anaesthesia has a greater impact on the patient’s mobility than epidural anaesthetic does. Spinal anaesthetics are often given to patients having surgery in the genital region such as labiaplasty.
Local anaesthesia is like regional anaesthesia in that it targets a specific area of the body. However, local anaesthesia targets smaller areas of the body than regional anaesthetic, and it is often administered via an injection given just under the skin. The patient’s consciousness is not altered at all. This is the most common kind of anaesthetic used during minor cosmetic surgeries. It might also be used in cases where the risks of regional anaesthetic outweigh its benefits. Local anaesthesia may be used in procedures like breast augmentation, and is often used in combination with sedation or to supplement a general anaesthetic.
Sedation alters the patient’s level of consciousness to alleviate pain and anxiety.
The process of administering a sedative with an analgesic, or pain reliever, is referred to as sedation analgesia. Sedation is usually administered through an intravenous catheter, or I.V., and it may be used in tandem with a local anaesthetic at the surgical site. Sedation and sedation analgesia often result in less nausea than general anaesthetic use, and the patient’s recovery time is generally faster in these cases than it is when general anaesthesia is used. There are three kinds of sedation: minimal sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation.
- Minimal Sedation: As its name suggests, this is the lowest level of sedation. You will feel relaxed, and you might remain awake. You will be able to answer questions and follow your surgeon’s instructions.
- Moderate Sedation: You will feel drowsy, and you might sleep through most of your procedure. However, you will awake easily when spoken to or touched. You may or may not remember having undergone your procedure.
- Deep Sedation: This is the highest level of sedation, and it results in a state of consciousness that is not unlike a deep sleep. You will sleep through your procedure, and you may remain asleep until the sedation wears off. You will have little or no memory of the procedure itself. The breathing of a patient under deep sedation may decrease, and supplemental oxygen may be given.
Your safety and comfort during and following your procedure are of the utmost importance to us. Please don’t hesitate to ask your patient consultant or surgeon at Clinic 360 any questions that you may have.