Eyelid Surgery: Awake or Asleep

Today, many people who are considering eyelid surgery are asking if full anesthesia is really necessary. They wish to avoid the risks and side-effects that are often associated with sedation or general anesthesia.

There are major advantages to remaining awake during any procedure on the eyelids. The most obvious advantage is that patients can avoid the risks that are most commonly associated with anesthesia, such as nausea, vomiting, sore throat, prolonged lethargy, breathing difficulties, interference with vital functions and even death in rare cases. Moreover, many people just do not want the down time that full-fledged anesthesia requires. They want to feel alert and ready to return to their routine as quickly as possible. Many people say that it takes them a full day or two to 'come back to themselves' following general or sedation type anesthesia.

Blepharoplasty, or cosmetic eyelid surgery, can often be done under "local" anesthesia, especially when the CO2 laser is used to perform the procedure. A small amounts of numbing medicine is injected directly into the location being worked on, such as is commonly done for routine dental work. This avoids the need for any sedation or general anesthesia. The CO2 laser aids in this process as it transmits far less pain stimuli to the tissues than does the more common methods used for surgical coagulation of blood vessels. Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Warren Lent, has been a long time advocate of the many benefits and advantages of laser eyelid surgery.

Following local anesthesia, patients are able to clearly comprehend all instructions, converse normally, and return home shortly after the completion of the procedure. Blepharoplasty is rarely associated with much post-operative discomfort, thus little to no analgesia is required once the local anesthetic wears off. Most patients require little more than Tylenol following these procedures.

Additionally, the use of local anesthesia is less costly. The services of an Anesthesiologist are not required, thus this fee is avoided. The procedure can often be performed in an outpatient setting, thereby reducing hospital or surgical center charges.

General or sedation type anesthesia is an option for those who cannot or are unwilling to tolerate any form of discomfort, including that which is associated with local anesthesia. This method of anesthesia may also be best suited for those patients who do not wish to be aware of any aspect of the ongoing procedure.

Any of these anesthesia techniques are reasonable options for anyone considering Blepharoplasty, cosmetic eyelid surgery or other types of eyelid procedures. The sole use of local anesthesia, combined with CO2 laser eyelid surgery, however has become an extremely popular option for those considering the most advanced type of eyelid surgery.