The advantages of undergoing a surgical procedure under local anaesthetic

There can be many advantages to undergoing surgery under local anaesthetic.

  • Most obviously, the patient remains awake and alert during the procedure. Only the area to be operated on is numbed so that the patient feels no pain.
  • Generally, no special preparation is required prior to a local anaesthetic.
  • Local anaesthetic enables active input from the patient in procedures such as dimple creation, ear correction, areola or nipple reduction, or dermal fillers.
  • A wide range of cosmetic and corrective procedures can be performed under local anaesthetic, which means that the surgery is more affordable.
  • Having a procedure under local anaesthetic is far more cost effective than undergoing a general anaesthetic for the operation, which would necessitate the presence of an anaesthetist as well as a stay in hospital, resulting in a higher cost for the operation.
  • There is no need to ‘starve’ beforehand. If the patient wishes, they can eat a light meal before the procedure and have something to drink.
  • Similarly, they may eat and drink immediately after the procedure. If the procedure is in the mouth then it is of course advisable to wait until the local anaesthetic has worn off before eating or drinking.
  • The patient may choose a favourite piece of music to be played in the operating room during the procedure. This will help to distract the patient and keep their mind busy during an unusual situation.
  • Monitoring the patient immediately after the operation is far simpler than would be the case if the patient has had a general anaesthetic.
  • Often the patient can be back to their normal routine within two hours of the procedure.

How is a local anaesthetic given?

Although local anaesthetic creams, gels and sprays are available for certain procedures, for surgery we use an injection to numb the area to be operated on.

Will I feel any discomfort?

You may feel a little discomfort as the injection is being given.  During the procedure you will of course feel no pain in the treated area at all, although it will feel completely numb.  As the anaesthetic wears off, you may feel a slight tingling.  There may be minor bleeding or bruising at the site of the injection.

How long does the anaesthetic last?

Depending on the amount administered, the numb sensation will generally wear off within 90 minutes.

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