Tummy Tuck Under Local Anesthesia, Why Not?

In reference to a tummy tuck, why wouldn't it be possible to do local anesthesia ? If having a C-Section you have local anethesia! In Colombia , where I'm from a lot of doctors do perform local anethesia in a tummy tuck, the reason being that they do not do it in the USA as much is because a lot of doctors aren't trained to do so. I don't understand why, being that a C -Section is more complicated and yet, they do it under local .

Doctor Answers 9

The amount of local required would be toxic

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The amount of local freezing required to properly freeze the entire abdomen and muscles would be too much... much more than what is safe because too much freezing starts to affect the brain and then the heart.

General anesthesia is a very safe method that is done many times over daily. 

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 521 reviews

Tummy Tuck under Local Anesthesia

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Thank you for your question.

Yes, tummy tuck surgery can theoretically be performed under local anesthesia but I DO NOT recommend it.

I perform my surgeries in an out patient surgery center, and under general anesthesi only.  I use Board Certified Anesthesiologists  who monitor my patients from start to end so as to provide the safest environment for my patients.  Abdominoplasty is an extensive procedure and I would recommend general anesthesia so that you are as comfortable as possible during the procedure.

I would suggest that you be very careful with your surgeon  selection;  most well trained experienced plastic surgeons would not do this procedure under local anesthesia.

I hope this helps.

Tummy tuck with local anesthesia

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The tummy tuck surgery is several hours long.  It may be difficult and uncomfortable for the patient to lay still for extended periods of time.  General anesthesia also allows for muscle relaxation which aids the surgeon to better perform the tightening of the abdominal wall.  In short, general anesthesia will likely enable the patient to receive a better result.

Mennen T. Gallas, MD
Katy Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck Under Local Anesthesia

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It is not a question of whether a tummy tuck can be done under local anethesia but whether it should. Issues of the quality of the result, what tissues are being manipulated in the procedure, patient tolerance and local anesthesia toxicity levels all factor into that decision. A tummy tuck also does not involve the delivery of a living baby so they are not exactly analogous situations even if they may seem so. For the right patient under the right circumstances, it can be done and be done well. But the vast majority of tummy tuck patients are better served with general anesthesia.

Tummy Tuck under local?

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You are exacttly right. It's much safer under local, BUT the patients are asleep with IV sedation and the procedure is exactly the same but the post-op pain is much less, because the long acting Novocaine (Marcaine) lasts 12-18 hrs and wears off so slowly the pain is much less. We do all ours that way and have never had a DVT/PE in thousands of cases. It is a 1 out of 100 complication with general anesthesia. Plastic surgeons no longer get anesthesia training during residency. Too bad for the patients!  Dr Foster

Lawrence Foster, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Appropriate Anesthesia for Tummy Tuck

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Local Anesthesia for tummy tuck is possible.  However, the levels of local anesthetic to do the surgery may be at a dangerous level.  General anesthesia allows for muscle relaxation which better enables the surgeon to  achieve the tightened, flat abdominal wall and narrow waist that patients desire.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Abdominoplasty and local aesthetic

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General anesthesia allows muscle relaxation, and therefore makes it easier for your surgeon to tighten the fascia and complete the "internal girdle".  Just because local anesthesia can be done, does not necessarily make it the best choice for this procedure.

David A. Lickstein, MD
Palm Beach Gardens Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Tummy tuck best done under general anesthesia

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A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) involves several things including wide undermining of the skin so that the extra can be removed and it can be pulled tight. There is also usually the muscle (rectus) repair. So while it would be possible to do it under a lot of local anesthesia, it is unlikely to be a completely comfortable experience and not any safer. Make sure that the facility where the surgery is done is accredited, that way you know that the person doing the anesthesia is qualified.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Tummy tuck under local anesthesia?

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Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) CAN be done under local anesthesia, but the result obtainable under general anesthesia is far superior.  Mechanical ventilation allows pharmacologically induced complete muscle relaxation, essential for wide rectus abdominis plication.  Rectus plication is critically important in achieving the tightened, flat abdominal wall and narrow waist that most tummy tuck patients desire, as shown in our gallery.

These results are impossible to deliver under local anesthesia.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 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.