Are you willing to stay awake during plastic surgery?
While there are cosmetic procedures that don't require patients to lose consciousness, most of them tend to be minimally-invasive procedures. For instance, a patient undergoing a chemical peel will only receive a low-dosage sedative and local anesthesia, while a patient who opted for breast augmentation will be given either intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
Wide awake, it's surgery
According to My9 NJ, a New Jersey-based plastic surgeon is the only doctor on the East Coast who performs breast augmentation with his patients still awake. Although the Federal Drug Administration states that it's medically safe to undergo breast augmentation with only local anesthesia, most women who receive implants choose to be asleep, which makes this New Jersey plastic surgeon even more out of the ordinary.
He told the news source that he began offering the procedure with local anesthesia after receiving numerous requests from patients. So far, he has performed the surgery on more than 200 wide-awake patients.
While the New Jersey doctor may be the only one on the East Coast with bright-eyed patients, he's not alone. The New York Times reported that there are more than 100 plastic surgeons in the US who encourage using local anesthesia for breast augmentation surgery.
Although some board-certified plastic surgeons practice this surgical method, Lawrence S. Reed, MD the president of the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, told the news outlet that using local anesthesia during breast implant procedures can be a way for doctors to skirt accreditation rules. Not operating in an accredited facility could be a safety risk.
Many people may not be able to stomach the idea of keeping their eyes - and mind - open during surgery, but some find the use of local anesthesia comforting, especially if they had previous negative surgery experiences.
"I have gone under general anesthesia before and I did not like the way I felt when I woke up. I like that I'm aware of what is going on," breast augmentation patient Rachel Saez told the news source. "I can feel him working on me. I can feel him pulling and tugging but it does not hurt."
For one plastic surgeon in Colleyville, Texas, the staying-awake method has enabled him to ask his patients questions during the surgery, including, "How big do you want the implants?" If the patient isn't satisfied, she can tell him right then and there, instead of waiting until the bandages come off weeks later.
On the flip side, it’s customary for women to decide on breast implant size and discuss their aesthetic goals with their plastic surgeon before surgery. Also, while there are claims that “awake surgery” leads to faster recovery, there is no scientific evidence backing that up.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery recommends that prospective patients research board-certified plastic surgeons operating out of accredited facilities before deciding on a breast augmentation procedure.