Scared of general anesthesia... please help?

Hi. I'm 5' 5", 140 lbs, and 18 years old. I'll be getting general anesthesia for about 4 hours during my full body liposuction. I'm getting it done in a very safe hospital in LA next month, but I'm still incredibly worried. I heard that the risks could be fatal, or that its possible to be completely aware or wake up during the procedure. What should I do to not be so scared? How likely is something like that to happen, and how can I prevent them? Thank you! Sarah

Doctor Answers 6

For safety reasons, AVOID gen. anesthesia and hospitals when getting liposuction!

Hospitals are notorious for picking up infections and everyone knows about the risks of gen. anesthesia. I would recommend tumescent local with a little iv sedation and getting it done in an outpatient accredited surgery facility. To be fair, you may do just fine in the hospital under gen.;  but why take unnecessary risks?

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

VASER Hi Definition Liposuction / Body Contouring with Fat Grafting -- GENERAL ANESTHESIA

I use general anesthesia for all full vaser body contouring procedures.  It is best to have this for this type of procedure.  It is safe if you are healthy and have a great anesthesiologist. I get cardiac clearance for every patient despite age.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

General anesthesia

Thank you for your question. 

Your concerns are a very normal response before surgery. The risk of something major happening with general anesthesia is exceedingly low in someone with good health. The best thing you can do is make sure your plastic surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and that he or she uses surgery facilities accredited by Joint commission, AAAHS, or AAAASF. A discussion about venous thromboembolism or pulmonary embolism should be part of your planning with a procedure of your duration. 

You can and should meet your anesthesia team before surgery and they will ask you a detailed medical history including family histories searching for any potential problems. Make sure to be completely honest with your surgeon and anesthesia team about any medications, herbals, or substances you use to avoid any drug interactions. These would be the steps I recommend to minimize risk. 


Dr. L

Andre Levesque, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Fear of Anastasia

You are not alone in your fear of general anesthesia. First of all general anesthesia is extremely safe. The fatality at risk for young healthy people is exceedingly low. I assure you that driving on the freeway in Southern California is much more dangerous. The chance of being awake during your general anesthetic is also exceedingly rare. Some patients may have episodes of consciousness as they're waking up but are technically still in the operating room though the procedure will be over. There's really nothing you can do other then staying in good health avoid the use of nicotine products and tell your surgeon and anesthesiologist about a all medical conditions. It is possible to have liposuction without general anesthesia including full body liposuction. Having multiple areas or high-volume liposuction without general anesthesia can be challenging though it is certainly possible. Some plastic surgeons perform liposuction you seen the general anesthesia what others are comfortable doing it without General Anastasia. You should not ask your plastic surgeon to change the form of anesthesia but let him or her use what works best in their hands. while no one can guarantee Outcomes in surgery I feel quite comfortable saying you will do just fine from the anesthetic perspective and hopefully the results from there liposuction will be what you would hope for.
Mats Hagstrom, MD

Mats Hagstrom, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Liposuction under local

You don't need general anesthesia for liposuction. In fact, it's preferable to not have general anesthesia for lipo. Investigate Sono Bello. They have experience with over 85000 liposuction surgeries under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. There is a center in LA.

Edmond A. Zingaro, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Anesthesia concerns

These are very common concerns of patients prior to surgery.  While no one can eliminate risk, anesthesia today is very safe.  Ask to speak with your anesthesiology team and talk about your concerns.  Remember you will be in a hospital with very sophisticated equipment and a whole team of specialists in the operating room with you whose number one concern is your safety.

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 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.