Anesthesia Question?

I am getting breast implants in December. I am 130 lbs, 5ft. 5inches and I am looking at 325cc saline under the muscle. I have been under anesthesia before (tonsillectomy) and I didn't have any negative reactions (throwing up etc.) However, I remember the doctor saying he had a bit of trouble waking me up. My questions are: if I didn't get an upset stomach after my last surgery should I expect not to be sick? Also, what are the possible reasons I may have had trouble waking from anesthesia?

Doctor Answers 12

Anesthesia and Breast Implant Surgrery

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  • If you're not prone to "motion sickness" and you didn't get sick after your last anesthesia, then you can be optimistic (but not guaranteed) about a pleasant recovery.
  • Anesthesia for breast augmentation can be "general" (endotracheal intubation - tube in the windpipe- and anesthetic gases) or intravenous sedation (anesthetic drugs in the veins). In my opinion, nausea and vomiting are more likely with "general" anesthesia.
  • Individual responses to anesthesia (waking up fast/slow) vary. If you are healthy and have surgery in a certified facility, your sensitivity to anesthesia shouldn't pose a problem.

Thanks for your question and good luck!

Knoxville Plastic Surgeon

Anesthesia during breast implant surgery

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The most common fear I hear from my patients is not from the impending breast implant surgery, but from the anesthesia given during the procedure.  It is the fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of not waking up after the procedure and the fear of waking up during the procedure!  We have all heard or read about the horror stories of anesthesia.

However, the reality is, anesthesia is very safe.  The medications used today are much better than even 10 years ago and the monitoring equipment is more sophisticated and accurate.  You have a higher chance of dying from a lightening strike than dying from anesthesia!

But, there are precautions that you must take before your procedure.  Make sure the surgical facility is nationally accredited and the anesthesia personal are board certified and specialized in anesthesia, either a MD anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist.  Insist on talking to this person before your procedure and explain to him/her your concerns.  They can take precautions to insure that your anesthesia experience is safe, pleasant and your recovery easy with  all the precautions taken to reduce your chance of post op nausea and vomiting.

Patients that end up with problems from anesthesia usually have significant medical problems prior to the procedure, (lung or heart issues), or don't follow pre and post op instructions exactly as directed.  Do your research, follow the doctors instructions and your outcome will goes as expected.  Good Luck!

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Breast Implants and Nausea

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    There are very good regimens that we use to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting and a shorter surgery (like 15 minutes) will likely reduce the risks

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I have heard many patients tell me they were slow to wake up with previous surgery, but what that meant in their case exactly always seemed to be unclear.  From the sounds of it, you should not be overly concerned that it indicated any actual problem,  it's just something some people are sometimes told.  Before your surgery discuss the issue with the anesthesiologist and they should be able to sort out the issue and you should have a perfectly safe procedure!

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Breast Implants Anesthesia

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Anesthesia for Breast Implants is extremely safe provided that you have a qualified anesthesia provider and a certified facility. It is a good sign that you did not have trouble with nausea with a prior anesthesia.Your slow wake up may have had to do with the dosages of medicines given. Discuss the previous experience with your anesthesia provider. They will adjust the dose to allow you to wake up more promptly this time.

Anesthesia and nausea

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Previous history of nausea and vomiting with anesthesia is highly predictive of future problems, as is a history of motion sickness or nausea with narcotic pain medications.  If you have had a previous good experieince, it is likely that you will be fine again. Shorter procedures like breast augmentation have a lower incidence.  As a young woman you are at somewhat increased risk, and antinauseant medications as well as the type of anesthesia agent can play a role in reducing the chances for nausea and vomiting.   For patients with a past history, taking the antinauseant Emend before surgery is extremely helpful, as well as avoiding inhalation anesthetics.

Anesthesia questions

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In terms of being sick to your stomach, research in this field shows that there are several risk factors, and each risk factor has about a 15-20% risk for post-op nausea.

These are:

1) being female

2) being a non-smoker

3) history of motion-sickness

4) history of prior nausea / vomiting after surgery.

Most anesthesiologists routinely medicate patients with drugs like Zofran in the IV, to reduce these chances of nausea / vomiting.  Hopefully you will sail through it!

As for the "slow to wake up" part, this could result from many factors.  If you can obtain your previous anesthesia records, this will help your anesthesiologist with your upcoming surgery.

Anesthesia concerns with breast augmentation

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In general, breast augmentation surgery is very safe.  If you do not have any medical problems, general anesthesia is very safe as well.  The best thing you can do is to make sure you let the anesthesia provider know your past history as well as your concerns.  He/she can help tailor your drugs based on your past experiences.  Good luck!

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Safety in anesthesia for cosmetic surgery

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There are many precautions that are taken when considering general anesthesia. Taking a thorough history of previous anesthesia is a good way to know if you may experience any problems with future anesthesia.  If there is real concern it would be necessary to review your previous anesthesia records.  Safety is the number one priority.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Breast Augmentation and Anesthesia Concerns?

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Thank you for the question.

Given your past experience, there is a very good chance that you will not have any problems with anesthesia. However, to not be bashful about communicating your specific questions/concerns with your anesthesia provider. Many of us will use prophylactic antinausea medication intravenously.  I also think that the “power of the mind” is very important;  if you go into surgery with a calm, positive attitude that you will do well, the chances are much greater that this will come to fruition.

 Do your due diligence and choose your plastic surgeon carefully. Again, do not be bashful about asking about the anesthesia providers credentials and experience.

 Best wishes.

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.