An Experience with Anesthesia: Understand What It’s Like to Go Under
If you’ve scheduled a major plastic surgery procedure (or any surgical procedure for that matter), then you can expect your surgeon to administer general anesthesia. And that’s a good thing, because it allows your surgeon to perform the operation without you feeling any pain or remembering any part of the procedure. If it wasn’t for anesthesia, modern surgery as we know it wouldn’t exist. Despite its necessity, some patients are more afraid of being “put under” than the actual operation.
At Northeastern Plastic Surgery, we find that patients who have a fear of anesthesia don’t really understand what it is or how it works. As experts in plastic surgery, we wanted to give you the straight facts about anesthesia so you feel as comfortable as possible on the day of your surgery.
What is Anesthesia?
Anesthesia isn’t a single drug, but a combination of drugs that induce deep sleep, block pain, and keep patients immobile during surgery. The types and levels of drugs may vary depending on the procedure and the patient’s overall health. A board-certified anesthesiologist will consult with your surgeon to determine the combination that’s right for you.
Is Anesthesia Safe?
Yes, anesthesia is extremely safe. Numerous studies have shown that there is a less than 1% chance of anyone experiencing a fatal complication from anesthesia.
You may be more prone to anesthesia-related complications if you are obese, a smoker, elderly, on certain medications, or are generally in poor health. For that reason, it is imperative that you be completely honest with your doctor about your medical history. And be sure to tell your surgeon if you or anyone in your family has ever had complications with anesthesia in the past.
What Happens When the Anesthesia is Administered?
On the day of your surgery, an anesthesiologist will administer the medication via an IV drip just minutes before the procedure begins. You can expect it to work quickly. Your anesthesiologist will likely ask you to count backwards from 10 to keep your mind focused and to help signal when you are asleep.
Once you are under, the surgeon will begin the procedure. During the surgery you will be unconscious, unable to move, and unable to feel pain. Your anesthesiologist will be there the entire time to monitor your vital signs to ensure everything remains stable.
Additionally, because anesthesia may interfere with breathing, patients are often intubated, which means a plastic or rubber tube is attached to a ventilator and inserted into the patient’s trachea. An anesthesiologist closely monitors this process as well.
What Happens After I Wake Up?
After the surgery, you will be put into a recovery room and be allowed to sleep until the anesthesia naturally wears off. You may feel a bit disoriented upon waking and you’ll have no memory of the surgery. In fact, some people wake up thinking that the surgery hasn’t even been performed yet.
Are There any Side Effects?
While everyone reacts differently to anesthesia, there are some common side effects that may include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting: This can occur within the first few days of surgery.
- Sore throat: Caused by irritation from the breathing tube.
- Itchy skin: A side effect of the pain medication in the anesthesia.
- Chills and shivering: Extra blankets or a space heater can help keep you comfortable as the side effect wears off.
The severity of the side effects depends on how long you were under, your age, and your overall tolerance for the drugs, which varies from person to person. While not pleasant, rest assured that these are temporary side effects that will subside within hours or days.
If you still have apprehensions about anesthesia, or any aspect of plastic surgery, then schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Fodero. He’s available to address any concerns you may have.
Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and facial appearance. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.