Many of the procedures we carry out at Bella Vou are performed under local anaesthetic, including our pioneering Concept™ Facelift, neck lift and neck tightening, upper and lower blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), scrotal uplift and labiaplasty (vaginal surgery), and it is one of the reasons why we believe we can provide optimal results for our clients.
What are the benefits of performing cosmetic procedures under local anaesthetic?
Patients with health concerns
General anaesthetic is not suitable for some patients due to having other underlying health issues, or because they are nervous about this type of anaesthesia. When you have a general anaesthetic, it induces a state of controlled unconsciousness, where patients are completely asleep. If you suffer from any heart or lung conditions, this type of anaesthesia can increase your risk of heart attack, pulmonary embolism or DVT, so needs to be considered carefully beforehand. However, general anaesthetic is sometimes the best and only means of pain relief when undergoing surgery, so patients shouldn't be alarmed if this is recommended.
By contrast, a local anaesthetic only numbs the local area, so doesn't affect the patient's health and is therefore often a safer, and more popular, choice for those with a pre-existing condition when considering an elective procedure.
Stay informed throughout
Remaining awake throughout the process may seem a little peculiar to some, but for others it feels as natural as visiting the dentist. Under local anaesthetic, you won't feel any pain, but you will be aware of touch and a slight tugging sensation. If any discomfort is felt, your surgeon will top up the local anaesthetic.
A faster recovery
Many clients wish to avoid a general anaesthetic because they are looking to return to their daily lives as quickly as possible. Of course, one reason why people think they'd need to stay in hospital is because of the bruising, bandages and drains that they associate, for example, with a typical facelift under general anaesthetic. But this isn't the case with our Concept™ Facelift, which results in bruising so minimal you are typically back at work within a matter of days. However, there are additional benefits in that local anaesthetics do not have the restrictions with driving or flying that usually apply after general anaesthetic, which can mean you should not drive immediately following the operation or fly for 6-8 weeks. In essence, recovery from the local anaesthesia of your cosmetic procedure is no different from when you've visited the dentist for a filling.
Recovery in the comfort of your own home
Having the procedure done under local anaesthesia removes the need for an overnight stay so that you can relax at home after your procedure rather than in a hospital environment, with most patients leaving only a couple of hours after surgery. This is of huge benefit to a lot of clients, who really just want to be at home with the comfort of their own things. Patients can walk in, have the procedure and walk out the same day.
Options for nervous patients
If you think the concept of being awake might cause you concern, there are additional options to ensure you are completely comfortable throughout the process. Of course, general anaesthetic remains an option, and we have surgical privileges at a number of private hospitals should this be your choice or necessary but additionally you could consider a ‘twilight’ anaesthetic or sedative if you would prefer to be less aware of what is happening. The patients who choose this route often find that they have snoozed throughout the procedure and are completely relaxed about what is going on. The important thing is to find a clinic that has staff who are interested in hearing your opinion about what pain relief you would like, and are able to accommodate all the options without compromise.
Making the right choice for you
Our pioneering consultant plastic surgeon, Mr Amir Nakhdjevani, believes anaesthesia is an important part of the conversation to be had during your initial consultation. Amir says, "I have been carrying out procedures such as facelifts, eyelid lifts and hair transplants under local anaesthetic and sedation for many years and I know that patients can have reservations about both."
"The consultation is the time to air those reservations, so we can discuss the best approach for you. From my point of view, whilst I believe that both local and general anaesthetics are safe, with local anaesthetic and sedation post-operative recovery is quicker, and the patient feels well more quickly, and these benefits are achieved with no compromise to the surgery or patient. The vast majority of our patients are very happy with having their surgery performed in this way and that is why we recommend it for many of our procedures."