LOCAL OR GENERAL ANESTHESIA FOR LIPOSUCTION?
Surgeons differ in their opinion as to the proper anesthesia to be used for liposuction procedures. Some prefer to use general anesthesia for all of their liposuction procedures. Other liposurgeons recommend the use of local anesthesia. Most liposurgeon specialists prefer a combination of local anesthesia and intravenous sedation “twilight anesthesia”.
General anesthesia adds risks and cost to a liposuction procedure. An anesthesiologist will have to be hired, adding an average of $1000 to the cost of the procedure. General anesthesia also substantially increases the risk of a liposurgery. General anesthesia stresses the heart and the lungs. It also substantially increases the risks of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli (blood clots to the lungs).
Modern liposuction procedures like Smartlipo and Tumescent liposculpture were designed to be used with local and intravenous anesthesia, not general anesthesia.
Some surgeons use only local anesthesia for all of their procedures. This promotes a fast recovery time, with the patient up and moving within 15-30 minutes after surgery. Patients will experience some discomfort with local anesthesia only and liposurgery procedures may take 2-3 hours to perform when several body areas are treated.
Most liposurgeon specialists prefer a combination of intravenous sedation and local anesthesia. This allows maximum patient comfort with minimal patient risk. Patients may leave the surgery center about an hour after liposurgery and return home with someone to transport and stay with them for a period of time.
Note: When utilizing intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, a doctor must use an accredited surgical center. This is a law. The accreditation of the surgery center guarantees that the doctor and staff have training and experience in the use of anesthesia as well as many safety issues such as emergency equipment, backup power systems, and sterilization techniques. Local anesthesia may be performed in an office setting without a surgical center license. For your safety, you should make sure you are having your lipo procedure performed at an accredited surgery center.
Dr O’Neil is a cosmetic surgeon in Temecula, California with offices in Orange County and Sherman Oaks. His practice specializes in liposculpture and fat transfer procedures.