What is the experience of anesthesia like?

Do people say that it feels like they have been sleeping for hours once they wake up? Going under anesthesia for hours for my TT and BL is making me nervous! The unknown about how much pain I will be in once I wake up is also giving me anxiety.

Doctor Answers 5


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This is a great question. Everyone has a slightly different experience with anesthesia and can differ based on the time the person spends under anesthesia. Feel free to ask your surgeon more about what to expect during your pre-op appointment as every surgeon and anesthesiologist have a slightly different protocol for patients. Good luck!

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Tummy tuck and BBL - getting nervous!

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Thank you for asking about your tummy tuck and BBL.

  • Anesthesia is like being alseep with no dreaming - it just leaves a 'blank' in the hours of anesthesia.
  • Ask your own surgeon about the extent of you pain -
  • Exparel injections have proved very useful in reducing then pain of a tummy tuck and I strongly recommend it to all my patients.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Good anesthesia makes time go by very fast...

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I completely understand your worries about anesthesia, but with a good anesthesia provider I hope you will find it a more "cool" experience rather than a worrisome one. For most patients, the anesthesia experience is one where they are talking away comfortably and then the next minute they are awake in the recovery room in disbelief that everything is already finished. I always talk with my patients as they go under anesthesia before their surgery and encourage them to think about their favorite beach vacation, real or planned. When I talk to them hours later in the recovery room, they will often express their amazement that the surgery is done as it seems they were just talking about Hawaii a moment ago.

Your surgeon and anesthesia provider should take steps to help with minimizing pain after your procedure and while obviously a patient undergoing a TT will experience pain and discomfort during their recovery, it should not be considered unbearable. I find that a tummy tuck is kind of like a hard workout for the patients - on the night of the procedure, they are mostly tired, but then the soreness kicks in the next day. That is why I encourage my patients to use their pain medication on a schedule for the first 48 to 72 hours as this will stay ahead of the soreness as it develops. If it is less than they expected, then they can wean themselves off it.

I would encourage you to share your concerns with your surgeon and anesthesia provider, so that you feel better in your own mind and so that everything is coordinated well to give you the best experience.

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What is anesthesia like?

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Every person reacts differently to anesthesia. Although anxiety is normal for a lot of people, most will post operatively describe it as a pleasant experience. Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about your concern. You can ask to speak with an anesthesiologist prior to surgery as well. One key point- make sure your doctors are board certified. 

Good luck!

What is the experience of anesthesia like?

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Most patients describe the experience of anesthesia as a "pleasant nap";  assuming you are working with a well experienced plastic surgeon and anesthesiologist, your "wake up" should be smooth, as well as pain and anxiety free. There are a variety of methods available to help with pain control.

 Generally speaking, 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.

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.