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Why is the Recovery After a Head/neck Procedure (E.g. Neck Lift) Supposedly Faster when Performed Under Local Anesthetic?

I have been told that recovery following a procedure (neck lift for instance) done under local anesthetic or light sedation is faster than one done under general? If that is the case, why do many doctors still only perform surgery under general? What is the pro/con to local vs general? Thanks.

Doctor Answers (21)

Recovery

+2

In my experience, doctors who make claims about the advantages of local anesthesia do not have the capability, expertise or certification to perform general anesthesia in their offices.  When your only tool is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.  It is fair to say that one 'prefers' to do surgery under local anesthesia, but not that it is far safer, quicker recovery or routinely better results.   


Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Face lift under local anesthesia

+2

I have not seen any difference in recovery post face lift,neck lift wiyh general or local anesthesia. I have seen more patient discomfort during surgery in patients with local anesthesia.Many times the complaint has nothing to do with the surgery,my back hurts,my I.V. burns,etc.I think patients in the U.S. are not as stoic as in other countries and generally dont want to be involved with the surgery.

Terry A. Cromwell, MD (retired)
Lafayette Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Recovery depends on what is done NOT the anesthesia

+2

Recovery depends on what is done NOT the anesthesia.  In fact procedures done under local anesthesia alone can often have MORE bruising than procedures done with IV sedation or general anesthesia since the patient's blood pressure is higher when awake and there is more bleeding.

Sam Naficy, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

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Recovery time is not dependent on the type of anesthesia

+2

Some patients will experience less nausea and vomiting using light sedation with local anesthetic over doing full general anesthetic but that is not always the case. A good anesthesiologist working with a good surgeon that uses generous amounts of local anesthetic can achieve comparable recovery times. The recovery from the actual surgery (swelling and bruising) will be the same 10 days to 2 weeks.

I hope this helps.

Ivan Wayne, MD
Oklahoma City Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Facial Procedures Done Under Local Do Not Have A Faster Surgical Recovery

+2

There is no difference in the surgical recovery whether a facial procedure is done under local vs a general anesthetic. Presuming that the facial operations done are the same, the amount of tissue trauma is identical. Therefore, the amount of swelling, bruising and the duration of heailng will be the same. The only time a facial procedure done under local has a faster surgical recovery is when the extent of the procedure is less. (which is often the case) The only difference in recovery between local and general is in the anesthetic recovery as one is completely awake during the procedure, thus there is little anesthetic recovery.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

General vs Local Anesthesia for Cosmetic Procedures

+2

 

When done properly by a trained anesthesiologist who understands cosmetic procedures there is no difference in the recovery. In fact, when a procedure is done under local anesthesia with enough sedation to make it where you can tolerate it well, the recovery is frequently longer than with a light general anesthesia. Many physicians who cannot get privileges in a certified operative facility are loudly touting the benefits of local anesthesia because that is all they can do. Without a certified facility (which you need for safety) they cannot get an anesthesiologist to give general anesthesia. Most of these claims are made to get you to forego other safety concerns and allow them to do the procedure. I personally stopped doing almost all major cosmetic procedures under local anesthesia over 17 years ago. I did so because I became convinced that monitored general anesthesia was the best for the patient, the safest method and had the fastest recovery. Since then, the safety and rapidity of recovery have only improved. Beware of the surgeon who does not offer you the option of general anesthesia.

 

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Facelift or neck lift local-general?

+2

Excellent question. It is not true that you heal faster with either. I have done facelifts for 35 years and have had patients working on their computer 2 hours after a full facelift under general anesthesia and back in public 2 days later IF they do not have much bruising. 

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Why is the Recovery After a Head/neck Procedure (E.g. Neck Lift) Supposedly Faster when Performed Under Local Anesthetic?

+1
   The recovery after both types of anesthesia should be similar, but the patient is more comfortable with something other than local alone. 


Kenneth Hughes, MD
Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 237 reviews

Different Recovery Times?

+1

Generally speaking, recovery time is the same with local or general. Recovery is based on what surgical procedure is done not the anesthesia used. However, when general anesthesia is in use, the initial recovery before going home is longer so the patient has time to wake up and the medical staff can make sure the patient is lucid and able to consume a small amount of liquid and sometimes food. With conscious sedation or local the patient is technically awake therefore there is not usually a need for extra recovery time before going home. “Dr. D”

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Neck Lift Recovery

+1

Great question. The only part of recovery that takes a slight bit longer with general anesthesia is waking up.  The actual surgery (and surgical approach) is what will affect your recovery time. In my experience, performing the surgery under general anesthesia keeps the patient a lot more comfortable and therefore it is a much easier experience overall.  I perform a short scar facelift (which really lifts the neck) and recovery time is typically about 5-7 days with minimal discomfort.

Larry Pollack, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 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.