Surgery has long been linked to anesthesia. Since most procedures involve the creation of incisions and the insertion or removal of various elements, addressing sensation—or a lack thereof—in the target area is a necessary part of the process. While general anesthesia is highly effective, it unfortunately comes with some side effects and drawbacks that can discourage prospective patients from pursuing their procedure of choice. Happily, Dr. John Q. Cook has taken a more advanced approach to cosmetic surgery at Chicago’s Whole Beauty® Institute by offering local anesthetic for many procedures.

What Are the Challenges Related to General Anesthesia?

In order to reduce sensation for cosmetic surgery patients, anesthesiologists use a combination of gasses and intravenous medications to induce a sleep-like state. While this prevents patients from “feeling” their surgery and remembering the experience, it also has ramifications felt both before and after the surgery itself.

General anesthesia essentially shuts down the body’s reflexes—including those related to the digestive system. This is why patients are told to not eat or drink for a significant amount of time before their procedure. Undigested food can cause vomiting during the surgery. It can also potentially be aspirated, which means it enters the lungs. For safety reasons, pre-operative patients are required to fast. Although this is obviously an important part of the process, avoiding food and drink is not a pleasant experience for most people.

Furthermore, avoiding drinking leads to dehydration, which can amplify the unpleasant side effects of anesthesia and surgery after the procedure is over.

Although general anesthesia is safe for most patients, it carries some real risks, which include blood clots in the legs and serious reactions to the anesthetic agents.

After cosmetic surgery, it takes some time for the general anesthetic to leave your system, leading to grogginess, nausea, and other unpleasant sensations.

How Is Local Anesthesia Easier for the Patient Compared to General Anesthesia?

Local anesthesia, administered by specifically targeted injections, reduces sensation in the surgical area without causing a sleep-like state. Patients remain awake and alert but are unable to feel the full impact of the incisions and the surgery. Simple pills given by mouth make the patient relaxed for the surgery, but they are not unresponsive.

Since there is no danger related to vomiting and aspiration, you can eat and drink a sensible meal prior to your surgery. This means you’re better hydrated and have good blood sugar levels going into your procedure, and your body is better able to recover right away following your surgery. There are also none of the complex anesthetic agents from general anesthesia that need to be broken down or flushed out, so you avoid the post-surgery “haze” and similar side effects that follow general anesthesia.

What Procedures Can Be Performed with Local Anesthesia?

Dr. Cook has developed techniques that allow him to perform many cosmetic face surgeries using only local anesthesia. Patients find a good experience and beautiful results with a range of lifts—complete face lift, cheek lift, jaw border lift, neck lift, and brow lift—as well as both upper and lower eyelid surgery and fat transfer to the face for re-volumizing the cheek area, lips, and more. Dr. Cook and his team can often employ the same local anesthetic techniques for body contour procedures.

Learn more about the benefits of local anesthesia—and what’s possible via cosmetic surgery—by contacting Whole Beauty® Institute. Call us at 312-751-2112 (Chicago Gold Coast Office) or 847-446-7562 (North Shore (Winnetka) Office), or submit a contact form to arrange a consultation.