Safe Limits Regarding General Anesthesia for Multiple Cosmetic Surgery Procedures?

I am considering getting a MACS lift with Pixel and Erbium laser for acne scars as well as Breast Augmentation on the same day. I wanted to get Liposculpture on the thighs and stomach as well but I have been told it would be too much time to be under anesthesia. I am thinking of doing this at a clinic in Mexico and they said everything is fine, but I am not sure if I trust this.

What do you feel is the longest one should be under general anesthesia?

Doctor Answers 13

Anesthesia time is only one risk factor for multiple procedures

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The combination you are describing does sound like a lot of surgery at once. However, the length of anesthesia may not be the biggest risk factor. When liposuction is combined with other procedures, there are specific risks with the fluid injections that are done for the lipo part. There are some good plastic surgeons in Mexico, but even if we assume that all will go well, a long flight home afterward could increase the risk of blood clots and pulmonary embolism. The most important thing should always be safety.

Limits of general anesthesia for surgery

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 I believe you might have asked this before, but I will stick with my opinion that what you are considering is far too much surgery to have in one day safely.  6 hours is the safe limit and you should be skeptical of an out of the country facility and surgeon suggesting you do this.

Limits of general anesthesia for multiple procedures

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If the combination procedures are in a surgery office setting than anything under 5 hours is acceptable. In a ASC I would also do the 5 hour rule. But in a hospital surgery up to 6 to 8 hours can be done. As for going to Mexico for an extended surgery please be careful, IT IS NOT the US! Regards.

Mexican Surgery

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You are worried about the length of time under anesthesia but have no concerns of going to a country where there are no checks of doctors or control of their practice? I do multiple procedures at a time and try to keep the length of surgery in an office OR to under 3 to 4 hours. An augmentation should only take an hour and lipo if moderate another hour. No problem doing them both at the same time.

Have y our surgery done by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who is near where you live so if you have a problem, they can fix it. So if you don't like what the Mexican doctor did, what is your recourse?

Remember, you get what you pay for.

Avoid Multiple Procedures Outside of the US - 6 hours Maximum

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I generally limit Aesthetic procedures to 4 hours and am able to do this because I involve a second surgeon when doing multiple procedures.

Protect yourself by choosing a Board Certified US Plastic Surgeon and follow his/her advice.

Safe Limits Regarding General Anesthesia for Multiple Procedures?

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The most important issue to consider is seeking the services of a qualified professional who can help you make that judgement (wihout running  a high volume franchise type operation) after evaluating your health and surgical  desires. Removing 50 moles over a 8 hour period may be OK but doing liposuction for 5 hours may not. There are no strict barriers nor time limits.

Cosmetic Surgery Tourism

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I really don't advocate going to a third world country for surgery. There are so many risks and down sides that the cost saving isn't worth it. Being in Texas, I have treated quite a few south of the border mess ups, and the cost of saving a patiet's life is much more than the surgery in Mexico, plus, the person is frequently ruined for life.

That said, if you ignore my experience, good luck.

Erbium won't fix acne scars.


Safe times for general anesthesia

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I agree 6 hours is about the limit of time under general anesthesia for elective cosmetic surgery. 8 hours is really pushing it and more is out of the question. If you need/want that much surgery done it is safer to have a team of surgeons do the procedure, like they do in south america, in order to stay within those time parameters. Infection rates, pulmonary embolism rates and other complication rates increase when you are lying on the operating table for very long periods of time. Also there tends to be more swelling and the recovery time is longer.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Multiple procedures under general anesthesia

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Hi NJgirl179,

For a surgeon to properly perform all of these procedures the same day, it will take several hours. How many hours does your surgeon think it will take him/her to perform all these procedures? The studies show that the risk of adverse events increases after two hours of surgery. However, we routinely perform surgery that is 4 hours long or even longer. In general I do not favor mutliple procedures with long operative times. The risk to you is greater, the surgeon can become fatigued and your recovery will take longer.

I am concerned that you are considering going to Mexico for surgery. There are unscrupulous physicians in this country and abroad who will do anything for money. They will tell you anything. This is elective surgery and there is no reason to have excessive risk. I would get at least 2 opinions from plastic surgeons who are respected in your community and who are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and then make my decision. I would not recommend surgery outside of the country in this situation. If you have a complication after surgery in Mexico, this will be very problematic.

Limits for General Anesthesia

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There are no hard and fast rules for safe lengths of general anesthesia, although risks certainly increase with the length of anesthesia. The safe limits are also related to one's general health. Hypertension, pulmonary disease, obesity, diabetes, and smoking are among the factors which increase the risk. I agree that it is probably unwise to add liposuction to the relativelt lengthly procedures you are undergoing. I would also warn that standards of care can be much lower if you leave the US.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

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.