Cosmetic surgeons around the world are using less anesthesia with their surgeries.  For many years the traditional “general anesthesia” was used for most types of cosmetic surgeries.  However, times are changing as many cosmetic surgeons around the world are using “IV conscious sedation.”

Here are 5 major benefits of IV conscious sedation for our surgical procedures:

  1. Sedated Patients Are Capable of Breathing On Their Own

    Many people don’t like the idea of undergoing surgery with a machine breathing for them.  When you have general anesthesia, medication is given that stops you from breathing thus your breathing is controlled by a ventilator. 


With IV conscious sedation, patients feel very sleepy but are not completely unconscious. This means that intubation is not required. Patients are given IV medication for pain and to make them fall asleep, however they are still breathing on their own. 

In short, IV conscious sedation is just a less intrusive and impactful on the body, and that’s something that we’re proud to be able to offer.

  1. There is Less Risk With IV Conscious Sedation

    In addition to the need for patients to be intubated while under general anesthesia, they are given medications that can cause a life threatening condition called “malignant hyperthermia.”  This is rare, however does happen and the anesthesia team has to be prepared to handle this critical situation if it arises. There is ZERO risk of malignant hyperthermia with IV conscious sedation.

There is also more postoperative nausea and vomiting with general anesthesia.  This is a critical complication but vomiting after a tummy tuck is never enjoyable.  Speaking of pain… there is also less pain with IV conscious sedation versus general anesthesia.  This is because tumescent numbing solution is given in all regions of surgery when you get IV conscious sedation.  This solution is usually not given with general anesthesia, unless you are having liposuction. 

  1. IV Conscious Sedation Enables Consciousness Coupled With Some Positive Amnesia Effects

    Amnesia simply means not remembering. Even though you are conscious, you’ll sleep throughout the procedure and won’t remember anything from your procedure.

  2. The Pain Control of IV Conscious Sedation/Tumescent Solution Anesthesia are Longer Acting

    As mentioned before, when placing tumescent solution (mixture of lidocaine to numb the skin and epinephrine to limit blood loss) under this skin, this numbing effect goes way past the surgery.  Thus the nerves under the skin are numb in the immediate postop period, where with general anesthesia there usually is no numbing solution placed in the area of surgery (except for liposuction.)  Thus postop pain is usually much less if you have IV sedation with tumescent solution anesthesia.

  3. IV Conscious Sedation Wears Off Quickly

    As a patient undergoing general anesthesia, it can sometimes take hours for the patient to return to a normal state of consciousness.  With IV conscious sedation, patients quickly regain their physical and mental faculties after the procedure and are much more aware and awake. Even though you’ll be feeling much better than patients who undergo general anesthesia, we still recommend that you arrange a ride home after your procedure.

There are medically necessary cases where general anesthesia is the better choice. Anytime surgery is done in the abdominal cavity, such as a hysterectomy or removal of the gall bladder, then it’s important to control the breathing on a ventilator.  However with cosmetic surgery, IV conscious sedation is a great safe and effective alternative to general anesthesia.  At New Life Cosmetic Surgery we have done hundreds of surgeries using this form of anesthesia.  Our patients love it and generally prefer this over the times they have had general anesthesia for other surgeries. 

If you have more questions about the differences between IV conscious sedation and general anesthesia, Dr. Lee would be happy to answer your questions during your consultation.

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