Initially this may sound cool: you stay awake throughout the
cosmetic surgery, you can chat with your surgeon and, in a
way, take part in the procedure. You stay clear from the effects?and the
cost?of general anesthesia. Sounds enticing, right?
As a matter of fact, more and more doctors are getting alarmed at the arising
trend of what?s called ?Awake cosmetic surgery.? In an MSNBC article last month,
the top dog of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)?the association
behind the ?board certification? that means at least two years of specific plastic
surgery training?showed his concern. Dr. Michael F. McGuire admonished that ?Awake?
cosmetic surgery is part of what he dubbed an escalating problem of
?amateurism? in the field.
Practitioners would make you believe that Awake cosmetic surgery is tailored
to benefit the patient. Surely, general anesthesia, the method applied by most
plastic surgeons for most operations, has its disadvantages. It poses certain
risks, such as the risk of blood clots (stemming from patient immobility) and
post-op nausea. Recuperating from the results of general anesthesia takes
longer than recuperating from lighter sedation, and it?s more expensive.
However, the risks of the Awake procedures are potentially even more
dangerous according to the MSNBC article, and to many board certified plastic
surgeons. For example, McGuire noticed that the quantity of lidocaine, a local
anesthetic, necessary for Awake breast augmentation, can reach toxic levels. Plus,
since the drug is consumed slowly by fat cells, these levels can be highest
after the patient is asked to go home.
Several Awake surgeons even offer tummy tuck surgical procedure minus
general anesthesia. McGuire had this to say, ?It?s inconceivable that anyone
would do such a major procedure under anything less than a light general
anesthesia.? He stated that abdominal surgery is some of the most invasive of
all cosmetic surgery choices and presents various risks.
One other disapproval of ?Awake? cosmetic surgery is that patients can undergo
a great deal of inconvenience.
In the MSNBC article, the patient profiled narrated she screamed during the procedure
and came out of surgery ?dazed and sobbing.? With the absence of an
anesthesiologist, whenever a patient feels excruciating pain the only choices available
to the doctor are to discontinue the surgical procedure or forge ahead.
?Awake? surgeons reply that it?s an advantage that patients can interact
with them throughout the procedure and make decisions, however the American
Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery compares this chance to ?making a
decision while you are drunk.?
Most distressful of all, Awake practitioners are more often than not non-board
certified plastic surgeons. According to MSNBC, any physician who?s determined
to attend a two-day training course and shell out a few thousand dollars can learn
the method. The chance to include cosmetic surgery to their repertoire, without
having to include an anesthesiologist or authorized surgical suite, attracts
family practitioners, OB/GYNs and other doctors.
If you?re searching alternatives for body contouring and run into a practitioner
proffering Awake cosmetic surgery, be prepared for an aggressive sales pitch
and an appealing price. Make sure to consider this: do you want to experience
what could be a very unmanageable procedure and trust your looks?and your dear
life?to a doctor educated just over a weekend?