Anesthesia protects the patient from experiencing discomfort before, during and in the recovery phase of their procedure. Here at PPSD our goal is to meet your cosmetic procedure expectations while keeping you safe and comfortable during your operation.

The type of anesthesia chosen is largely dependent on the nature of the treatment and can be clarified by your surgeon during the consultation. Major surgeries such as rhinoplasty, abdominoplasty, and breast augmentation typically call for general anesthesia, while less invasive procedures are done under local anesthesia or mild sedation.

During your consultation, your doctor will fully explain your options so that together you can make the best decision for your needs. The doctor will also go over all possible risks and complications for each type of anesthesia.

Who administers anesthesia?

At PPSD, Noah Smith and Brad Stevens, our Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, under the direction of our plastic surgeons, administers anesthesia. They both bring vast experience to our practice and is diligent and prepared for any and all anesthesia situations that may arise.

Anesthetists are trained to carefully monitor the body’s breathing and vital signs during surgery, and are also experienced at comforting those patients who may feel anxious about “going under”. PPSD provides the highest quality of care before, during and after your surgery.

What are the different types of anesthesia?

General anesthesia

This is the most complete form of pain prevention where a patient is completely unconscious during surgery. General anesthesia is typically administered during lengthy major cosmetic procedures, usually those performed on the abdomen, face, neck, or chest. This type of pain control carries the most risks, including increased blood pressure or heart rate, although these are meticulously monitored by the anesthetist. After surgery you will be monitored in our recovery room by a registered nurse until you meet our discharge criteria.

Local anesthesia

Local anesthesia is given to numb a certain area of the body while the mind stays conscious. Most people are familiar with this form of anesthesia from visiting the dentist. It is usually administered as an injection of lidocaine, epinephrine and sodium bicarbonate, but may also be applied as a topical ointment, cream or spray. Effects last around 2 hours.


Administered intravenously or by swallowing a pill, sedatives reduce consciousness and leave you feeling sleepy and relaxed. Typical sedatives include lorazepam, valium, xanax, versed and fentanyl. Many times doctors will combine sedatives with other forms of anesthesia in order to relieve anxiety. Sedation can be light, moderate or heavy, depending on the nature of the procedure.

Risks and complications

Today, anesthesia is considered one of the safest fields of medicine, thanks to continuing improvements in formula, equipment and technique. However, remote risks such as stroke, heart attack, nerve damage, pneumonia and death do exist and every patient should be aware of them.

Factors that may increase your risk of complications include…

  • A family history of anesthesia allergies
  • Smoking or heavy drinking
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Seizures

How can I minimize these risks?

  • Discuss all your options thoroughly with your doctor.
  • Be sure to disclose your full medical history and list of allergies to your doctor. Leaving out a critical piece of information can mean the difference between a pleasant experience and a potential complication.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding abstaining from food prior to surgery. Failing to do so can lead to serious consequences, such as aspiration pneumonia or even death.
  • Herbal formulas, vitamins and supplements should also be avoided for several weeks before your procedure, as some of these can react negatively with anesthesia.
  • Take the medicine you are instructed to take prior to surgery; stop the medicine you are instructed to temporarily hold prior to surgery.