Need advice from a board certified surgeon. Had a consult, doctor said I'd need to go under general anesthesia?

I had a consultant with a doctor and he told me for my liposuction on full stomach, and flanks he would put me on general anesthesia should I be worried?? Because I heard of only local anesthesia for lipo

Doctor Answers 12

Lipo and anesthesia

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Your PS is being very reasonable.  Small areas of liposuction can be done  under local, but extended large areas such as you have suggested are best done  under general anesthesia. If your surgeon is performing the surgery at an accredited  facility that is properly equipped using a board certified anesthesiologist or  nurse anesthetist, you  should be fine.

Lipo under anesthesia

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Thank you for your question. This is a very common question we receive from patients. Lipo can be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia. Often we base the decision on how extensive the lipo will be, as well as time needed, and how comfortable the patient will be during the procedure. Many patients are comfortable having small areas of lipo done under local anesthesia while they are awake. Once you start having lipo done to multiple areas , or a larger area that will take longer, it is often beneficial for the patient to be under general anesthesia. If you do not want to be under general anesthesia, I would address that with your plastic surgeon, and perhaps you could split the lipo into 2 shorter sessions to be done with just local anesthesia.

Local vs General Anesthesia

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Thank you for your question. Liposuction can be performed both ways - but in my experience, it is vastly better for both the patient and me if the patient is asleep. With the patient awake, especially with tumescent liposuction or VASER liposuction, the anesthesia may not be sufficient - and it can be painful for the patient. Going to sleep in some capacity - either with sedation or general anesthesia - is typically more standard, especially if you having such a large area liposuctioned. Best of luck! 

Anthony J. Taglienti, MD
Norristown Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction under local or liposuction under general anesthesia?

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Liposuction can be performed safely in certified centers under local anesthesia and under general anesthesia. As a board certified plastic surgeon, my #1 preference is to keep patients comfortable and safe. The larger the area we are planning to treat, the more likely I am to recommend general anesthesia. Smaller confined areas are more amenable to local anesthesia. This is for good reason! Your discomfort while placing the local is much less when we are placing it in a smaller area, than a larger one. 

I would not worry that your surgeon recommended general anesthesia, but instead have an honest discussion about your goals for surgery and your overall risk profile for general anesthesia. And remember to make sure your surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery.


Shruti Tannan, MD

Shruti Tannan, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon

Need advice from a board certified surgeon. Had a consult, doctor said I'd need to go under general anesthesia?

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Thank you for your question. Liposuction can be done under local or general anesthesia. It depending on the patient size and doctor preference. Please talk to your PS and if he does not do it you can always get other opinion from who does it under local anesthesia


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I do the majority of my liposuction under local with some oral meds to relax my patients. The majority do really well with this.  Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Liposuction under General Anesthesia

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Large areas for liposuction require either sedation or general anesthesia. This is done to ensure an optimal patient experience and outcome. For small, limited areas liposuction can be performed awake with local anesthesia alone. I generally discourage this practice and recommend at least sedation, however. This is because despite the area being numb, the experience during awake anesthesia can be anxiety inducing and traumatic. Hope this helps.

Nirmal Nathan, MD
Plantation Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews


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Hello and thank you for your question.  The best advice you can receive is from an in-person consultation. In my practice I perform liposuction with either conscious sedation or general anesthesia.  Both of these options are administered by a board-certified MD anesthesiologist in my practice in order to maximize patient safety.   Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and evaluate their results.   The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Lipoucttion anaesthesia

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Hello  and thanks for your question.

  When area is small, person is cooperative liposuction can be done in local  or local plus sedation.   When area is large like abdomen an flank, anxity  or any associated condition general aesthesia is better. you are totaly knoked  so you dont feel even little pain  ,  surgeon can do more through lioosuction.

Please consult board certified plastic surgeon and discuss.Best of luck.

Dr Milan Doshi

Milan Doshi, MS, MCh
India Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 196 reviews

Liposuction Anesthesia

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Thank you for your question.  Liposuction can be performed under straight local (for small areas), or local with sedation, or general anesthesia.  I perform most of my liposuction under local with sedation.  However, general anesthesia is very safe.  Generally if it is just abdomen and flanks, it can be performed under either local and sedation or general anesthesia.  I would recommend talking to your physician about your concerns, and make sure your plastic surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  All the best, 

Keshav Magge, MD
Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 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.