Is It Safe to Use a Nurse Anesthestist for Tummy Tuck Surgery?

I'm considering having a tummy tuck. The board certified plastic surgeon I'm considering uses a nurse anesthetist. Is this advisable for a full tummy tuck? Or is there no difference between a anesthesiologist or a CNR for this procedure?

Doctor Answers 16


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Personally my preference is to use an MD anesthesiologist, it is probably what I'd use for my own family.  That being said, many people use registered nurse anesthesists and have for years without problems.  It is within the standard of carre today.  Best wishes,

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Nurses (RNs) and Doctors (MDs) That Give Anesthesia, What is Safe?

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YES if there is a supervising MD anesthesiologist available at the facility at all times.  100%   All good facilities have this structure.  Nurses giving anesthesia are excellent and well trained but when a lightening strike occurs, a severe allergy, dangerous complications, etc an MD anesthesiologists must be available immediately.  Facilities run without MD anesthesiologists essentially use the surgeon to serve as the responsible ....   ANESTHESIA PERSON.  I do not know one surgeon colleague including all those at the university that is worth a hoot as an anesthesiologist.  Do not have surgery if an MD anesthesiologist is not immediately available.   If there is MD anesthesiologist suppervision, nurses can be excellent.   Why would a facility not have a MD anesthesiologist 100% of the time.  You can guess.  Yes, to cut costs.  Is is worth cutting corners when your life may be at stake?  If savings occur, are they passed on to you?  Ask a lot of questions and remember that first class places do have nurses giving anesthesia and ALWAYS have at their side an MD anesthesiologist to supervise and to protect......YOU!    Happy Valentines.

Tummy Tuck

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I have worked with many talented competent and professional CRNA's. However, I have worked with them while under the direct supervision of a board-certified anesthesiologist. Some plastic surgeons use CRNA's exclusively as a means of saving money. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 121 reviews

Nurse anesthitist

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I have been using a nurse  anesthetist for 15 years now and she does a remarkable job and is better than or equal to regular M.D.'s and I would let her put any of my family members to sleep.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

CRNA/MD there is a difference

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Many patients are more fearful of anesthesia than surgery.  I always use an MD anesthesiologist because they have more training and broader medical knowledge.  Most of the time a CRNA can safely do the anesthesia for an abdominoplasty, but if an emergency arises will there be an MD anesthesiologist in the operating suite (very nearby) who will assume your care?  It doesn't matter if your surgeon has never had a problem with a CRNA.  The fact is that the training (and cost)  of having a CRNA are less than having a medical doctor.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Anesthesia for a tummy tuck - I prefer an MD

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A CRNA can be excellent IF there is an anesthesiologist present in the vicinity for emergencies.  Most times when using an RN this is not the case unless it is done in an outpatient surgery center.  I personally only use real anesthesiologists (MD's) because they are clearly more trained and experienced and will be better able to handle any issues that might arise.  That's what I would want if I were the patient so that's why I do it that way.

I use MD

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I personally use a board certified anesthesiologists, but I know surgeons who only use CRNAs.  When things are straightforward, there may be no difference, but when there is a problem I prefer my physician colleague.  Good luck with your surgery.

CRNA vs anesthesiologist

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CRNAs are well-trained and qualified health care providers, but I perform my abdominoplasty procedures at centers that use an MD anesthesiologist. Many of these facilities also have CRNAs that assist with the case, but are not ultimately in charge.

Joseph Michaels, MD
Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Board certified anesthesiologist better!

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Being an Anesthesiologist has been described to me like being a pilot...its 99.99% routine boredom and 0.01% terror!  Especially because more and more plastic surgical procedures are performed in "Certified Offices" and not in hospitals, I feel more secure as a surgeon (and definitely as a patient) to know that in the event of an emergency I can count on a Board-certified Anesthesiologist!!!  No matter what explanation a Plastic Surgeon may give you for using a Nurse Anesthesiologist or CRNA in his/her office there is only one reason that makes sense...TO SAVE MONEY!!!

Eric Sadeh, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Nurse anesthetist

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A nurse anesthetist is fine to perform your anesthesia for your surgery. I personally use a board certified anesthesiologist.

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