Breast augmentation is typically performed under general anesthesia (or GA, as it is often called). Patients who have surgery under a general anesthetic are fully asleep and unable to feel or respond to pain. General anesthesia is administered by a qualified anesthetist who monitors vital life functions, including breathing, blood pressure, oxygen level, and heartbeat. General anesthesia is recommended for most procedures that are lengthy or complex. It is possible to undertake minor surgery under local anesthesia (“freezing”) but more extensive procedures are more safely performed with the patient fully asleep.
Patients will ask about the risks of the anesthetic. My answer is that in young, healthy people, the risks are minimal. Pre-operative screening for health issues that might affect the anesthetic are an important part of the planning process. We do everything possible to ensure that the anesthetic is safe and efficient.
After the anesthetic, patients awaken within a few minutes. They are able to move, breathe and respond to instructions, but most patients have little or no memory of the early moments after their operation. The anesthetic drugs need more time to wear off and until they do, memory of events is limited.
Patients are then taken to the Recovery Room for a period of several hours, where they gradually become more fully awake and aware of their surroundings. During the recovery period, a trained nurse provides individual care, monitoring vital functions such as heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels and providing any medication needed.
Sometimes there is some lingering drowsiness or even some nausea. Medications can control pain or discomfort as well as nausea, but it takes time to feel fully alert. Patients should not drive for 24 hours following a general anesthetic.
Surgical patients at the Cosmetic Surgery Institute are kept overnight with a private nurse to ensure a comfortable recovery. By allowing more time to fully recover, my patients go home feeling better and recover more smoothly. When they return for their check up visit one week after surgery, any lingering effects of the anesthetic have long resolved, and patients are able to resume their regular daily routine.