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An uncomfortable subject… PART ONE

Today we’re going to discuss an uncomfortable truth. Many patients who are considering facial plastic surgery procedures choose to delay their treatments because they are worried about pain and anesthesia. While there can be some discomfort associated with facial procedures, it is usually minor. Even with surgical procedures, the pain afterwards rarely requires prescription pain medication for more than a couple of days. However, that doesn’t help us if we’re concerned about anesthesia. Today we’re going to discuss how we keep you comfortable during facial plastic surgery procedures and (hopefully) set your mind more at ease.

The simplest form of anesthesia that we use is numbing cream. We use numbing cream for injectable procedures and laser based skin treatments. Depending on the treatment, we apply the cream to the treated areas for anywhere from ten to thirty minutes before the procedure. I can say from personal experience that it works pretty well!

My IPL treatment didn’t hurt and my face remained numb for about an hour following my treatment.

Another common way that we keep patients comfortable is with injectable numbing medicine. These are the same kinds of medicines that you get when you go to the dentist for a filling. They can last anywhere from one to eight hours depending on the medicine we choose. They sting. There’s no sense in denying it. But after the first numbing shot, we tend to work from numb areas to not numb areas which makes the experience a lot easier. Depending on the procedure, we can also prescribe a pain pill and a pill to make you relax. I was able to have sinus surgery with this combination of medicines- it works well! The pills make you feel like you’ve thrown back a shot of your favorite potent potable (Celebrity Jeopardy anyone?).

You need someone to drive you to and from the office if you opt for these pills. We offer this kind of anesthesia for patients undergoing skin cancer surgery, scar revision, and upper eyelid surgery. Here’s one of my patient’s experiences with this kind of anesthesia.

While numbing cream, numbing injections, and prescription pain pills work well, sometimes they’re not enough. For more involved surgeries, we can also perform the procedure at a local surgery center with a highly trained team of board certified anesthesia professionals. We will discuss more involved anesthesia techniques in a future post.

And now, just because…

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