One of the advanced techniques that Dr. Samaha’s patients appreciate most is the avoidance of general anesthesia. This approach has had several benefits for our facial plastic surgery patients: recovery is faster, the coughing, nausea, and vomiting sometimes associated with general anesthesia are avoided, and the time necessary to complete the procedure is decreased. This approach, combined with Dr. Samaha’s use of minimally invasive surgical techniques allows patients to recover faster and return to daily activities sooner. Invariably, patients who have opted for this approach have reported a positive and comfortable experience.
There are multiple factors to be considered prior to deciding on the type of anesthetic to be used, including the type of procedure, length of the procedure, and the patient’s preference. There are several options for anesthesia, including local anesthesia, local anesthesia with intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia, which remains an option. Local anesthesia usually refers to numbing the area to be operated. This is similar to what takes place at a dentist’s office. Dr. Samaha frequently adds a sedative, given as a single dose prior to the procedure, to enhance the patient’s comfort and help them relax.
The addition of intravenous sedation to the local anesthesia, sometimes also referred to as “conscious sedation” or “twilight anesthesia” refers to the administration of sedative and pain-relieving medications through an intravenous (iv). Typically patients are in and out of sleep. The degree of sedation or “sleepiness” can be tailored to insure that the patient is sedated and comfortable throughout the procedure. Patients usually do not remember the procedure. General anesthesia is when the patient is completely unconscious and a breathing tube is placed by an anesthesia specialist. The patient is monitored throughout the procedure by the anesthesia doctor. When the procedure is completed, the anesthesia doctor withdraws the tube and the patient is awakened.
A thorough discussion between the patient and Dr. Samaha at the time of consultation will help select the best choice of anesthesia method. The patient’s safety, comfort and preference are of utmost importance in this selection.