Epidural with IV Sedation for Tummy Tuck, Will I Wake Up?

I have had 2 consultations for a tummy tuck. 1st PS told me I would be put under w/ general anesthesia. The 2nd PS does the procedure w/ an epidural with IV sedation. I've done some research and I've found pros/cons for both. When I had my wisdom teeth pulled, I had IV sedation and woke up a few times. It didn't hurt, but I remember the clanking in my mouth. Would this be the same type of IV sedation? Is it likely I will wake up during my TT like I did with my wisdom teeth procedure?

Doctor Answers 11

General anesthesia v. epidural and sedation

Either technique is safe and effective.


Chances are it is less likely that you will awaken during this procedure. Many oral surgeons do their own sedation while performing their procedures. During the tummy tuck someone dedicated only  to your safety and comfort will in attendance. 


Best wishes.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Anesthesia and Tummy Tuck Surgery

Both types of anesthesia are safe and commonly practiced. The chances of waking up during a procedure using IV sedation are extremely low and should not be much of a concern. But this is mostly dependent upon the anesthesia provider and how attentive they are during the procedure. I personally use IV sedation in my practice and have never had an anesthetic or recovery problem. I have the capacity to use general anesthesia in my surgical suite but believe that the recovery process is easier with a well administered deep sedation. 

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Epidural with IV sedation vs general anesthesia for a tummy tuck.

Thanks for the question. Either anesthesia technique works well, depends on the surgeon's training and preference. In my practice I've been doing tummy tucks with extensive liposuction under IV sedation and epidural anesthesia since 1996 without one untoward event. I prefer this over general anesthesia, since the epidural relaxes the abdominal muscles and I can do a better tightening with improved results. I also use tumescent solution infiltration, since I do extensive liposuction with my tummy tucks and we keep the epidural level at just below the breasts. This allows me to do liposuction around the lower rib cage without the patient feeling it. Also, I find that my patients rarely get nauseated or vomit from this type of anesthesia as opposed to general anesthesia. My patients go home within half hour after completing the surgery and do not require 2-3 hours of recovery as is routine with general anesthesia.

George Marosan, MD
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Epidural with IV Sedation for Tummy Tuck, Will I Wake Up?

Thank you for your question.

I perform tummy tuck surgery in an out patient surgery center, and under general anesthesia only.  I use Board Certified Anesthesiologist who monitor my patients from start to end so as to provide the safest environment for my patients.  Abdominoplasty is an extensive procedure and I would recommend general anesthesia so that you are as comfortable/safe/immobile as possible during the procedure.

I hope this, and the attacked link, helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Epidural for tummy tuck

I prefer to do abdominoplasty under epidural with I.V. sedation. This medication is administered by an anesthesia professional, who also monitors the patient continuously.  There should be no time when the patient wakens, unless the anesthetist wishes her to do so.

Michael Leff, MD (retired)
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Epidural anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia both work for tummy tuck

Both anesthetic options work for tummy tuck.  Surgeons will have a preference for anesthesia, but those who use epidural and sedation are generally comfortable with this approach.  Depending on what form of sedation is used, you should have no awareness of being in the operating room.  Bear in mind that both general and epidural/sedation are safe when done in an accredited operating room with board certified anesthesia and surgeons.

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Anesthesia for Tummy tuck

Just as there are many different ways to perform a tummy tuck with good results, there are different ways to administer anesthesia for this or nay procedure.  There will always be advantages and disadvantages of each.  There will also be preference of the surgeon and anesthesia provider which may be just personal preference without any scientific or clinical support.  

During surgery in my operation room I typically perform tummy tucks using deep sedation which is administered through an IV.  I have a CRNA with whom I have worked for over 12 years.  This provides very adequate anesthesia, a low chance of post procedure nausea and a quick recovery.  In my opinion, the addition of an epidural is unnecessarily complicating the anesthesia. I have also done this procedure under general, but most patients find that there recovery is quicker with the sedation type that I use most often.

Good luck and be sure to understand the credentials of not only your plastic surgeon but also  of the anesthesia provider and the accreditation of the facility.  Thank you for your question.

Ralph R. Garramone, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Anesthesia for tummy tuck

My preference is to perform the surgery under general anesthesia. Either technique is safe and effective if you have an experienced and skilled MD Anesthesiologist.Make sure that your surgeon and anesthesiologist is aware of your prior experiences with anesthesia. 

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Epidural with IV Sedation for Tummy Tuck, Will I Wake Up? ANS:

Sorry...I never do TT under epidural....but hopefully doctors who do them that way will let you know if they ever see patients "wake up" during surgery....

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

IV sedation and woke up a few times for wisdom tooth removal

A sedation given by a dentist is very different then a board certified anesthesiologist who keeps the depth of Anastasia under his total control and recorded on printable monitors.Abdominoplasy in my practice is performed under general anesthesia which is a safe world over in modern times with better monitoring ,better drugs and better technique and anesthesia equipments.

Ashok Govila, FRCS, MCh, MS
Dubai Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 88 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.