Ask a doctor

What Type of Anesthesia is Available for a Mini-facelift or S-lift?

why do some doctors do mini or s-lifts with local and others more asleep anesthesia?

Doctor Answers (33)

I prefer to do my face lifts with local anesthesia and...


I prefer to do my face lifts with local anesthesia and oral sedation.

Instead of sending heavy medication into the IV line to keep you asleep or sedated throughout the procedure, tumescent anesthesia uses only local anesthesia injected into the face to control pain, and Valium pills to relax you. The term "tumescent" (meaning swollen or puffy) comes from the appearance of the area immediately after injection, before the medicine is absorbed into the surrounding tissues. The medicine that is injected is a solution of saline (salt-water), epinephrine, and Lidocaine. Saline helps to separate the tissues, making the dissection less traumatic for the face. Epinephrine causes the tiny blood vessels in the area to constrict, minimizing bleeding and bruising. Lidocaine numbs the area to provide pain control, similar to what the dentist uses before filling a cavity in a tooth.

The procedure is performed without heavy medication and without a long post-operative recovery. Most patients are comfortably and safely on their way home about an hour after surgery. Since most of the medication used with tumescent anesthesia in The Awake Facelift is eliminated from the body within a few hours, there is no "hangover" effect such as is often experienced after general anesthesia. This also translates to less post operative nausea and vomiting.

Having the patient awake throughout the procedure enables the surgeon to maximize the aesthetic result with the least risk of complications. Nerve function can be continually assessed during surgery by having the patient raise the eyebrows, smile, or perform other facial expressions. Checking nerve function is critical to avoiding the rare complication of facial nerve damage, but this important precaution is impossible using general anesthesia or heavy sedation.

In some cases, patients might not be good candidates for the Awake Facelift, such as if they are tolerant to anesthetics (have a hard time getting numbed up at the dentist), take a lot of pain medications regularly, are very anxious or nervous, or have contributing medical concerns such as cardiac history. These patients are better suited for IV sedation.

Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Mini Facelifts are done under local anesthesia and are much safer than general.


Mini facelifts are now done under local tumescent anesthesia and are almost painless with the great techniques of administering the local now a days.  Cost is roughly $6-8500 and recovery is so much easier as well.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Anesthesia for facial surgery

I do for my patients what I would want for my family or myself, a board-certified anesthesiologist provides anesthesia care.  Patients are safest, most comfortable, and it makes it much easier for me to provide the best result possible

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

You might also like...

Anesthesia facial plastic surgery

 Every surgeon has the prefer way to perform surgery.  Is not  a matter of safety  is more a matter of personal preference that you should  discuss  with your surgeon.  I persoallly prefer sedation and local anesthesia

Alejandro J. Quiroz, MD, FACS
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

anesthesia for a mini lift

 There are 3 types of anesthesia available for a facelift or a mini lift. These are local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. In our practice, we use  board certified physician anesthesiologists for patient safety and comfort and perform our facelifts under general anesthesia. For many examples, please see the link below

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Anesthesia for Facelift

I perform the Rejuvelift. It is a full lift which improves the lower third of the face and neck. I do this procedure in my office under local anesthesia with mild oral sedation (Valium). Without the use of a deeper sedation or complete general anesthesia, the recovery is quicker and easier and the patient can leave the office as soon as the procedure is completed. There is really no office recovery needed. A "mini lift" or an "S lift" can be done in the same fashion but may not see the same dramatic results that often don't last as long.

Louis C. Cutolo, Jr., MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Mini Facelift Anesthesia


Mini Facelifts can be performed with a variety of anesthesia techniques.  In my practice, I typically perform the procedures using IV sedation or Oral Sedation with local tumescent anesthesia.  Both are very satisfactory, although I find that patients are most comfortable with IV sedation initially until all the local anesthesia is injected into the face and neck.  Once the local anesthesia effect is achieved, IV sedation is usually decreased to a very low level for sedation.  I do not feel that the use of either technique effects the overall outcome of the procedure.  Good Luck!

Anthony Corrado, DO
Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Anesthesia Choices for Mini-lifts


Anesthesia Choices for Facial Aesthetic Surgery such as a mini-lift depend on several factors.
First off, I do not think the type of anesthesia influences either the recovery time or the amount of bruising. Although it is possible to do all of these procedures under local anesthesia - your comfort is the most important concern. You will have to lie still for hours and you will be aware in many cases of injections. For procedures more than 3-4 hours I would recommend IV sedation or a general anesthesia. For local anesthesia cases I usually give Ativan or Valium before hand and most sleep for most of the cases without the need for an IV in healthy patients.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

What Type of Anesthesia is Available for a Mini-facelift or S-lift?


 I offer three kinds of anesthesai for these minimal incision Face Lifts.  Local infiltration, IV sedation with intubation and general anesthesia.  What type of anesthesia is selcetd depends on the individual personality of the patient.  Our Face Lift procedure can be done in 90 minutes or less, so not much time is sepnt under anesthesia regardless.  Be sure that the plastic and cosmetic surgeon, you select for your Face Lift, understands and follows the proper aesthetics of facial beauty for the creation of a naturally, more attractive face.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Choice of anesthesia for Mini-Lifts


Mini-lifts can be performed safely under different degrees of anesthesia.  The two important factors are the preferences of the patient and the preferences of the surgeon.  I find most patients self-select for the choice that is right for them.  That is, some patients are very anxious about the idea of having a procedure done while being awake.  These are patients that will do best with IV sedation or general anesthesia.   

To further explain the options of anesthesia, realize that there is a spectrum of anesthesia available:

Local anesthetic injections are always used to help with bleeding and to prevent pain from the procedure itself.  This is almost always combined with oral medications to help provide relaxation and mild sedation.  The patient is sleepy, but awake for the procedure and may remember some or all of the procedure.  This is fine for a mini-lift, but may not be ideal for longer procedures.

If deeper sedation is desired, IV sedation can provide what is usually called twilight anesthesia.  The patient would be breathing on their own, but usually has no remembrance of the procedure.

Finally, general anesthesia can be used.  With a general anesthetic the patient is totally "out," and should feel nothing and remember nothing of the procedure.  A breathing tube of some type is used to protect the airway and a ventilator is used during the procedure.

These days, anesthesia of all types is very safe and problems are rare if done properly.  If IV sedation or general anesthesia is used, then the procedure should only be performed in an accredited facility to ensure an appropriate level of monitoring is present. 

Michael Bowman, MD
Montgomery Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.