Questions You May Have Before Undergoing Anesthesia

When it comes to surgery, many patients are more worried about going under anesthesia than about the procedure itself. The idea of being rendered unconscious while someone operates on your body is naturally a bit unsettling. However, the more you know about anesthesia and how it will be used during your procedure, the more comfortable you will feel.

Below, you’ll discover answers to some of the most common questions patients have about anesthesia prior to surgery.

Will You Be Completely Asleep?

This depends on the type of anesthesia your surgeon chooses to use for your procedure. For complex surgeries, such as body contouring, you may be put under general anesthesia, which means you will be in a coma-like state and unable to respond. However, an increasing number of cosmetic procedures are now done with just local or regional anesthesia, which means a part of your body is made numb, but you remain awake.

If your surgeon uses local anesthesia, you will remain awake during the procedure, but they will often also administer a sedative to keep you relaxed. Heavy sedation administered intravenously can render you almost as unaware as general anesthesia but allows you to wake up and recover sooner.

What If You Wake Up During Surgery?

The idea of a patient waking up during surgery makes a great plot line for movies, but in reality, this does not happen very often and is not something you need to worry about.

Recent studies conducted in the U.S. found that only 0.005% of patients experienced accidental awareness during surgery. Most of those episodes occurred either while the patient was first being put under, or as the patient was being brought out of anesthesia, not during the procedure itself.

You Have Red Hair — Will This Interfere With Your Anesthesia?

If you have red hair, you’ve probably been warned that redheads struggle with anesthesia and feel pain differently than others. Recent studies have found that redheads need about 20% more anesthesia and different doses of various pain relievers. This is due to certain genes that are often inherited alongside the gene that causes red hair.

Redheads can be properly anesthetized and have their pain controlled; your anesthesiologist will just need to make a few adjustments. If you have red hair but dye it a different color, you may want to point this out to your surgeon just so that it does not go overlooked.

What Are the Side Effects and Risks Associated With Anesthesia?

Some patients are concerned about dealing with the side effects of anesthesia while also healing from the procedure itself. Here’s the good news — anesthesia has come a long way over the past few decades, and side effects now tend to be very minor. This is especially true if your surgeon uses local or regional anesthetic and a sedative rather than general anesthesia.

After waking up from surgery, you may experience some nausea, a sore throat, or soreness at the injection site — but these side effects fade quickly.

You also do not need to worry about the risk of paralysis if your surgeon administers regional anesthesia via your spine. Paralysis used to occur if the bottles used to hold the anesthetic were improperly cleaned with alcohol, but that procedure is no longer used, so there is no longer a risk of paralysis.

The idea of going under anesthesia can be the scariest aspect of surgery for many patients. Dr. Christine Nygaard of Renaissance Center Facial and Body Sculpting works with experienced Certified Nurse Anesthetists to make sure you are kept as safe and comfortable as possible during surgery. If you have questions about our anesthetic processes or would like to learn more about our cosmetic procedures, please contact us.

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