General anesthesia has long been the standard for ensuring patient comfort and optimizing plastic surgery outcomes, but it’s a fact that most surgical procedures can be performed with local anesthesia or twilight sedation instead. Dr. Jose Rodríguez-Feliz is among the growing number of forward-thinking plastic surgeons who are limiting the use of general anesthesia in the name of providing a better surgical experience for patients.
General anesthesia involves the placement of a breathing tube and the use of anesthetic gas to render a patient completely unconscious during surgery. This anesthesia approach has been associated with a higher risk of bleeding while surgery is in progress, as well as increased bruising, swelling and recovery time afterwards. In addition to putting significant stress on the body, many patients report undesirable side effects such as weakness, nausea and headaches after general anesthesia. Those who are especially sensitive may also experience vomiting that can potentially tear sutures and compromise the healing process.
Depending on the extent of the surgical procedure being performed, Dr. Rodríguez-Feliz prefers local anesthesia or twilight anesthesia. Local anesthesia uses injections to thoroughly numb the area being treated while allowing the patient to remain awake. (Patients are given oral medication before surgery to help them relax.) For patients who are uncomfortable with needles or multiple injections (or simply don’t want to be awake during surgery), twilight anesthesia uses IV drugs to reduce anxiety and induce sleep without the risks of general anesthesia. Patients wake up within minutes after the medication is stopped, and usually report feeling like they just had a full night of restful sleep.
Both local and twilight anesthesia have been found to result in less bleeding during surgery, which translates to less post-procedure bruising and recovery time. After thoroughly reviewing each patient’s medical history, Dr. Rodríguez-Feliz will discuss all of the appropriate anesthesia options for the specific procedure (or procedures) being considered.
Among the procedures that can be performed under local or twilight anesthesia:
To learn more about local anesthesia, twilight anesthesia and surgery without general anesthesia, or schedule a consultation with Dr. Rodríguez-Feliz, call (305) 747-7739.