There are several types of anaesthesia—local, regional and general—that are used in cosmetic procedures. Which one will be used for your next cosmetic procedure depends on a number of factors, including the type of procedure, where on your body the surgery is being performed, your medical history, your general health condition and your practitioner’s preferences.
You can read more about types of anaesthesia, their risks, benefits and under what circumstances each type is used in Part 1 of this article series: Types of Anaesthesia for Cosmetic Surgery – Part 1. The table below lists the many types of surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures together with the usual type or types of anaesthesia that may be used.
The exact choice that suits you best should be discussed and agreed between you, your practitioner and your anaesthesiologist.
|Cosmetic procedures on the face and neck|
|Cheek Reduction||Local anaesthesia with sedation or general anaesthesia.|
|Cheek Augmentation||Surgical augmentation is done under general anaesthesia. Injectables are usually given with local anaesthesia.|
|Chin Surgery with or without implants||Light sedation anaesthesia or general anaesthesia.|
|Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)||Simple otoplasty with minor corrections – under local anaesthesia with sedation. More complicated otoplasty procedures involving microsurgeries etc. are likely to take a lot of time are usually done under general anaesthesia.|
|Brow Lift/Forehead lift||Local anaesthesia and IV sedation or general anaesthesia.|
|Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)||Usually done under local anaesthesia and IV sedation. But a general anaesthetic may be used as well.|
|Laser Eye Surgery (LASIK etc.)||Numbing eye drops. Sedative medication.|
|Facelift (Rhytidectomy)||General anaesthesia.|
|Laser Resurfacing||Local anaesthesia in the form of a topical cream or gel.|
|Microdermabrasion||Usually not necessary, but if needed, with local anaesthesia.|
|Thread Lift||Local anaesthesia and light sedation.|
|Hair Restoration/Hair Transplant||Local anaesthesia.|
|Laser Hair Removal||Local anaesthesia – Numbing cream.|
|Lip Lift||Local anaesthesia.|
|Neck Lift||General anaesthesia.|
|Nose Surgery||General anaesthesia.|
|Non-Surgical Nose Reshaping (fillers)||Local anaesthetics applied topically.|
|Anti-wrinkle injections||Typically no anaesthesia is needed. A topical anaesthetic cream and ice may be used to minimise discomfort.|
|Wrinkles (Dermal Fillers/Soft Tissue Augmentation)||Typically no anaesthesia is needed. A topical anaesthetic cream may be used for injecting in extremely sensitive regions or at your request. Some dermal fillers contain a local anaesthetic in the filler itself.|
|Surgeries on the breast/chest|
|Areola Reduction||Often performed under local anaesthesia. May also be performed under local anaesthesia with sedation or under general anaesthesia.|
|Breast Augmentation (Augmentation Mammoplasty)||Sometimes performed under local anaesthesia with IV sedation. Usually performed under general anaesthesia.|
|Breast Lift (Mastopexy)||General anaesthesia.|
|Breast Reconstruction||General anaesthesia.|
|Breast Removal (Mastectomy)||General anaesthesia.|
|Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammoplasty)||General anaesthesia.|
|Male Breast Reduction (Gynaecomastia)||General anaesthesia.|
|Pectoral Implants for Men||May be performed under local anaesthesia with sedation or under general anaesthesia.|
|Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)||Usually performed under general anaesthesia.|
|Buttock Augmentation||Usually performed under general anaesthesia.|
|Female Genital Surgery (Labiaplasty)||Can be performed under a full range, including local anaesthesia only, local anaesthesia with simple sedation, deep sedation or general anaesthesia.|
|Vaginal Tightening (Vaginoplasty)||General anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia including epidural anaesthesia, spinal anaesthesia or pudendal block, and IV sedation with local anaesthesia.|
|Penis Enlargement (Phalloplasty)||Penis lengthening and penis widening can be performed under local or general anaesthesia.|
|Liposuction||Liposuction can be performed under both general anaesthesia and local anaesthesia. Typically, small volume liposuction can be done under local or monitored anaesthesia while large-volume liposuction may require general anaesthesia. IV sedation may also be used.|
|Laser Hair Removal||Usually topical creams are used as a local anaesthetic.|
|Thigh Lift||General anaesthesia.|
|Tattoo Removal||Depends on the type of removal required. Laser removal and surgical removal are usually done after numbing the area with an injection of a local anaesthetic. When dermabrasion is used, the area is usually chilled until it becomes numb.|
|Mummy Makeover (Post-Pregnancy Makeover)||General Anaesthesia.|
|Gastric Banding (Lap Banding)||Usually performed under general anaesthesia.|
|Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)||General anaesthesia.|
If you are not sure which type of anaesthesia is likely to be used in your cosmetic procedure, your practitioner is the best person to talk to.
Remember that most forms of anaesthesia require close monitoring of your vital functions. This is why specially trained anaesthesiologists, medical doctors with additional training in anaesthesia, intensive care and pain management, are necessary for the administering of anaesthesia.
Your risks and complications are minimised when you are under the care of an accredited practitioner and an anaesthesiologist.