Anesthesia [an·es·the·sia] noun: a state of controlled, temporary loss of sensation or awareness that is induced for medical purposes.
Anesthesia has become so common that it is often assumed to be routine for any type of procedure, whether invasive or not…which shouldn’t be the case. Double board certified Palm Beach facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Jean-Paul Azzi, M.D. only uses general anesthesia when absolutely necessary.
General anesthesia is a complete state of unconsciousness accomplished by using a combination of intravenous drugs and inhale gasses. While most people who undergo general anesthesia are awake in the recovery room immediately after a procedure, they remain groggy for hours afterward. The human body actually takes up to one full week to completely eliminate the medicines used during anesthesia.
“Anesthesia not only comes with risks including death, but it also adds to the recovery,” Dr. Azzi explains.
In his experience, Dr. Azzi says that he finds that patients who undergo general anesthesia frequently experience nausea and vomiting and always show more swelling and bruising. Other side effects of anesthesia can include dizziness, sore throat due to a breathing tube, and difficulty passing urine.
Instead of general anesthesia, Dr. Azzi prefers that his patients remain awake during his procedures.
You might be thinking, “Wait, patients are AWAKE during a facelift?” The answer is yes for facelifts, and [almost] all other procedures too.
The only procedure where Dr. Azzi DOES use IV sedation of anesthesia is full rhinoplasty because this involves a total manipulation of the nasal bones.
So what does Dr. Azzi use instead of general anesthesia? “I use a few numbing medicines mixed together so the injection doesn't sting too much. Nothing very different from a dermatologist or dentist,” said Dr. Azzi. “Valium is also administered which helps patients feel relaxed. They can speak to me if they want to during the procedure, but most people just listen to the music and doze off from the light sedation.”
Since anesthesia has become so commonplace, it is 100% normal for patients to feel anxious or nervous knowing that they won’t be “asleep” for a procedure. But fear not. Patients will feel absolutely no pain at all once the numbing agents are administered and the Valium helps them feel calm. Dr. Azzi said, "I have never had anyone freak out during a procedure or even be at all uncomfortable. Everyone is anxious at first, but afterward they cannot believe how easy it was.”
Of course, there will be some sensations during the procedure. Patients may be able to feel Dr. Azzi touching their face as well as some tightening and pulling sensations, but many patients have reported that they actually enjoy this type of sensation.
“Interestingly enough, I would say at least 30% of patients thank me as I am tightening their jowls,” Dr. Azzi said. “It’s like they’re feeling the years being taken off their faces and they are excited about it.”
It’s extremely important to consult a doctor who not only has experience and expertise but also one that has your best interests at heart. It’s totally understandable to feel apprehensive about having something done to your body and being coherent, but a good doctor will take as much time with you as you need to feel comfortable with the idea. A good bedside manner is key and truly makes the difference.
If you or someone you know is considering any kind of cosmetic procedure, make sure you consult a facial plastic surgeon, like Dr. Azzi, who will take the time to ensure your comfort before, during and after everything is said and done.
Our offices are conveniently located in Jupiter and Palm City, Florida. We serve patients in the following South Florida areas and beyond: Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Tequesta, Hobe Sound, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach and Vero Beach.
To schedule a consultation, or for more information, click here or call us at (561) 429-5403.