Which type of anesthesia is selected during a rhinoplasty?
Anesthesia is necessary for numerous surgeries including rhinoplasty. Regardless if the rhinoplasty is for medical or cosmetic purposes, anesthesia helps the patient feel comfortable.
What Is Anesthesia?
Anesthesia is used to prevent pain during specific procedures such as rhinoplasty. Because it is so good at blocking pain, many patients wonder what exactly is in it. Unlike opioid medications, anesthesia does not work like a prescription painkiller.
Anesthesia is not just one drug. It is a mixture of different anesthetics that can either cause a patient to lose consciousness or numb a part of the body. This can be absorbed through topical lotion, eye drops, skin patches, injections, or inhalation.
There are three main types of anesthesia used today. General anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and local anesthesia all work to help patients during surgery. Depending on the procedure, the anesthetic may or may not “put patients to sleep”.
Who Can Use Anesthesia?
Anesthesia has been used for decades to provide comfort for patients. While it is usually a safe treatment during surgery, not everyone qualifies.
Candidates that do not qualify for anesthesia usually have a medical history of hypertension, severe emphysema, advanced cancer, or blood disorders. A patient’s medical history is always taken into account before having a rhinoplasty.
Different Types of Anesthesia
The type of anesthesia used for major surgery is not typically used for stitches. This is because a strong treatment may have potential risk and if it’s not necessary, why use it? While it is safe for most people, there have been medical issues caused by certain types of anesthesia.
Local anesthesia is primarily used for minor surgery. It is usually given by injection, but it can also be used via cream. The properties are able to directly absorb into the skin as long as there is a significant amount of topical. Typically local anesthesia is used in dental offices for a wisdom tooth removal.
Minor surgeries may not seem particularly “minor”. This is because anesthesia is so strong that what would ordinarily be quite painful is no longer felt. Minor surgeries include the removal of moles or certain types of eye surgery.
There’s no need to use local anesthesia multiple times per appointment. Even though the patient is awake while the surgery is happening, there is no sensation. Patients can talk (depending on the procedure), but they are largely unaware of the physical area that is being treated.
Local anesthesia does wear off. It usually takes two or three hours for normal sensation to come back in the affected area.
Dentists usually recommend not eating directly after anesthesia has been used because of the risk for injury. This is because although the rest of you may feel fine, the numb area may not send pain signals from potential damage.
The difference between regional and local anesthesia is in the amount of coverage it provides. Local anesthesia usually protects a small area of the body from pain. Regional anesthesia is a way to numb a large part of the body.
Patients are still awake with regional anesthesia. They can communicate with physicians while a procedure is happening if they choose to participate in surgery. If they’d rather fall asleep, a specific type of medication can be added for relaxation.
Regional anesthesia is often used during pregnancy before performing an epidural. For those who have significant health conditions, regional may be chosen over general anesthesia. Orthopedic surgery, cesarean sections, and bladder procedures all fall under this category.
The phrase “going under” is closely tied with this type of anesthesia. Instead of staying awake during the procedure, a physician prescribes a combination of medications to keep the patient completely unconscious. Some people also use the phrase “put to sleep”.
General anesthesia does not actually put someone to sleep. Nobody would be able to stay asleep while surgery is actively happening. The word is actually used to describe a type of deep unconsciousness that does not respond to any pain signals.
Operations that take several hours to perform require general anesthesia. It does not wear off as quickly as regional or local anesthesia and is ideal for surgeries that involve a significant loss of blood. Although it is considered quite safe, general anesthesia is not used for those with obstructive sleep apnea or diabetes.
What Type of Anesthesia Is Used During a Rhinoplasty?
An individual assessment must be made before scheduling a rhinoplasty. While local anesthesia can be used, general anesthesia is usually preferred because the patient is unconscious.
Surgery that is performed while the patient is conscious can be upsetting to some patients. Depending on your comfort level, you may choose general anesthesia because once you wake up, it is as if you have been asleep the whole time. There is no memory of the procedure whatsoever.
An open rhinoplasty requires a physician to access the underlying bones in the nose. This is done by reshaping the nasal structure or even adding implants. The incisions are closed with sutures and nasal packing may be used.
Patients can wake up once the anesthesia is reversed. This is typically done right after surgery. Pain medication is usually prescribed for the recovery period.
Why Use General Anesthesia?
General anesthesia creates the most controlled environment for both the physician and the patient. If you’re curious as to every movement made during the procedure, this can distract the surgeon.
It also helps with procedural anxiety. Many patients simply don’t want to be awake during their rhinoplasty. This is not only helpful for them, but also for the entire medical team.
By using a breathing tube, physicians have complete control over the airway. The windpipe is less likely to release blood during an operation when it is protected. General anesthesia is also used to keep blood pressure low.
The procedure can be done at a faster pace without unwanted or unplanned movement. This is not only efficient but safer for the patient. Those who are healthy enough for general anesthesia tend to choose this option.
A rhinoplasty is a fairly common procedure. With the right anesthesia, it can be done quickly and effectively. For more information on comfort care and rhinoplasty, please contact Dr. Becker at 609.436.5740.