Reflections center has always put the patient first, and now we’re making patient safety and comfort the focus of surgical procedures, by offering facial plastic surgery and body contouring surgeries under Comfort Calm™ Local Anesthesia, as an alternative to general anesthesia. This new offering of safer anesthesia has proven popular with our patients, allowing them to not only recover more quickly, but also to make the recovery process more comfortable, and to produce better results at a more affordable price. We spoke to Dr. Mark Karolak, a Facial Plastic Surgeon at Reflections, about this emerging change is how certain surgical procedures are performed.
What is the difference between general and local anesthesia?
According to Dr. Karolak, “When you have a procedure performed under general anesthesia, you are given medications to make you unconscious. The muscles are usually paralyzed, a tube is placed in the throat, and a ventilator is used to breathe for you.” General anesthesia often sounds like the most comfortable way to have surgery for patients, however, it certainly has its risks, and a large portion of the discomfort following procedures is often due to the body detoxifying itself from the strong medications used for general anesthesia. With local anesthesia, your body can focus on recovering from the procedure, which makes the recovery process easier and much faster. A safer option, local anesthesia can be used to only numb the treatment area. Dr. Karolak states “Under local anesthesia, we use medicine which is injected into the area of the procedure to numb it. Very often, patients are given a medication commonly used for anxiety to help them relax and feel comfortable.” Most patients sleep through their facial plastic surgery procedure with Dr. Karolak. This method is known to be safer and gentler on the body allowing for a quicker recovery.
Why is general anesthesia higher-risk?
Now that we understand the difference between the two, now its time to understand why general anesthesia is still used; “General anesthesia allows procedures to be performed that would otherwise be impossible. Many of those procedures are life-saving.” But, Dr. Karolak further explains that some patients have a higher possibility of complications due to the drugs used in general anesthesia. “Since patients are given multiple medications to make them unconscious, side effects are more common than with local anesthesia. Local anesthesia is considered the safest form of anesthesia because very few medications are needed to make the patient comfortable, numb, and relaxed.” So when a patient is having an elective cosmetic procedure, there often isn’t a need for general anesthesia and its associated risks.
What procedures used to be done with general anesthesia but are now done with Comfort Calm™ Local Anesthesia at Reflections?
Facelifts & Necklifts
After you have relaxed with Comfort Calm™ Local Anesthesia in our private surgical suite, Dr. Karolak will make minor incisions following the natural creases where the ear and cheek meet, following the curve of the ear. To start, muscles along the jawline are lifted into a higher position. Then, fat is recontoured across the lower cheeks for a naturally lifted look. Finally, he will remove any excess skin if needed, and then carefully suture the incisions. Most patients gently drift off to sleep during the procedure. Local anesthesia helps to make the recovery time from a facelift and/or necklift around 7-10 days, as opposed to several weeks for those performed under general anesthesia.
Liposuction & Fat Transfer
During your liposuction and/or fat transfer procedure, Drs. Chasin and Wix-Harris prefers to use Comfort Calm™ Local Anesthesia for best results. The Reflections private state-of-the-art surgical suite feels more like a retreat than an intimidating operating room. You’ll be able to listen to soothing music and communicate with your nurses and surgeon. And with this unique anesthesia option, you’ll be able to “preview” your results during the procedure.
Curious what it’s like to have surgery awake? Watch our patient video from a livestream with Harper’s Bazaar in our Martinsville office.
What recovery benefits do patients experience with local anesthesia?
Dr. Karolak uses Comfort Calm™ Local Anesthesia, allowing for your recovery to be gentle, relaxing, and shorter than instances when general anesthesia is used. The medicines used during general anesthesia can be quite strong, causing adverse effects for many patients. For many, general anesthesia causes intense brain fog and sluggishness that persists for many days following surgery. Often times, patients also find themselves feeling nauseous due to the drugs used. Thanks to Comfort Calm Local Anesthesia, your body can simply heal from the surgery, rather than cleansing the system of strong medications and recovering from the anesthesia’s side effects. It appears that the way surgery is performed today is evolving into a safer process that is more comfortable for the patient. The team of cosmetic surgeons at Reflections is devoted to providing our patients with the highest level of comfort and care, and for that reason, we offer Comfort Calm Local Anesthesia, the ideal substitute to general anesthesia.
Want to learn more about your anesthetic options for procedures here at Reflections? Contact one of our offices to schedule a consultation with one of our cosmetic physicians at our Martinsville location (732) 356-1666 or Livingston location (973) 740-2444.