I'm having a breast reduction soon and I'm scared I won't wake up.

Can someone help me to further understand the process if anesthesia?

Doctor Answers 6

Breast reduction

Discuss this with your chosen plastic surgeon. They will be able to get you in contact with the anesthesia team that will assist in your surgery. They will be able to discuss the many options for anesthesia that are available to you. As a general rule anesthesia is safe for an otherwise healthy individual.

Roswell Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Breast reduction anesthesia

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us. 
In my practice for this type of procedure i don't use general anesthesia, because it is not necessary. Generally the type of anesthesia used is Regional Anesthesia (placed in the back) with Assisted Sedation, this does not quite feel any pain, and remain with a light and comfortable sleep during the procedure.

Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.- 

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Anesthesia and surgery

Anesthesia is very safe and in a healthy patient, the risk is extremely low. If you are concerned, it might be best to review this with your anesthesiologist.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

The safety of anesthesia will depend on multiple variables

Hi there-

Modern anesthesia techniques have evolved remarkably over time, and generally speaking, even people with significant illnesses are able to undergo anesthesia safely.

The relative safety of your particular anesthesia experience is going to depend on many different variables that only your surgeon and his/her chosen anesthesia provider can help you understand, such as your overall state of health, the type of anesthesia they are planning for you and the medications chosen, and the length of the operation.

Having said all of that, if you have chosen a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, and the procedure is to be performed at an accredited facility, with an anesthesia provider that is also Board Certified in their specialty, it is exceedingly unlikely that they would allow you to proceed with what is fundamentally an elective procedure if they believe you are at significant risk of not waking up after the surgery. These are common concerns, and they are understandable, but if you are healthy enough to have the operation (and are having it under the circumstances described above), these types of catastrophic outcomes should be exceedingly rare.

I would also review this with your surgeon, who is in the best position to put you at ease.

I'm having a breast reduction soon and I'm scared I won't wake up.

Congratulations on your decision to proceed with breast reduction surgery; it is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.

Anxiety prior to surgery is very normal; its complete elimination is usually not possible. ***Assuming you have chosen your plastic surgeon carefully, other important "variables" such as anesthesia provider and surgery facility will be selected based on everyone's first priority: safety. This careful selection should give you some peace of mind that you will be safe around the time of surgery. Discuss your specific areas of concerns with your plastic surgeon who will be in the best position to help you calm your nerves.  

I ask my patients to try to be as calm as possible prior to surgery; this “calmness" tends to translate to a smoother postoperative course. You may be able to alleviate some pre operative anxiety with music, exercise, meditation, a glass of wine (if ok with your surgeon), and positive/objective focus on the long term outcome/benefits etc. prior to your procedure.

Generally, patients find that they did “get worked up for nothing” after their recovery is completed.

I hope this helps. 

Waking up after anesthesia.

Just written for another patient:

Your concern is more common than you imagine. We drive, we fly, we play sports and yet many people are more nervous about GA where statistically the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor.

IMO a patient who is a bit nervous is a better patient and more likely to  follow postoperative instructions. It means you are hearing  your doctor.

Conversely, If you are just too nervous- you don't have to do it. never feel pressured. The desire has to be yours alone and one that you are comfortable with.

I will sometimes offer sedation to patients who are anxious before surgery, but only when we have had our talk preoperatively and all our paperwork is filled out. Ask your PS about this.

Best wishes whatever you choose.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 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.