Are There Different Kinds of Anesthesia Used in Plastic Surgery?



When you’re considering a plastic surgery procedure, it’s helpful to know what sort of anesthesia the doctor will administer so you can plan accordingly.

Then again, maybe you aren’t even aware that there are different kinds of anesthesia. Don’t worry! That’s not all that unusual.

So just in case you’re in the unknowing camp, we’ll educate you here.

Different Kinds of Anesthesia Used in Plastic Surgery

The type of anesthesia used for your procedure will depend on a number of factors. One is the length of the surgery. Another is the complexity of it. Your overall health is also a deciding factor.

In general, the plastic surgeon will make this decision. However, you may be asked for your input on preferences as well. Whatever the case, here’s a rundown of what you can possibly expect.

  1. General

General anesthesia is only used for major surgeries like breast augmentation or a tummy tuck where you would need to be completely unconscious and unable to experience pain. With general anesthesia, your brain doesn’t respond to pain signals or to reflexes so that you stay still during the surgery. General anesthesia has the greatest degree of risk – though it’s still minimal.

Within the category of general anesthesia there are two subcategories: intravenous and inhalation anesthetics.


Intravenous general anesthesia involves injection directly into your blood stream to depress the central nervous system. Your vital signs, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation are monitored very carefully throughout the procedure. Your level of consciousness is also watched to ensure you don’t begin to awaken during the procedure.


With inhalation general anesthesia, the anesthetizing compounds are carried to the blood and tissues through the lungs rather than via an injection. It should be noted that inhalation anesthetics are typically not used alone but rather in tandem with intravenous anesthetics – the combination of which is referred to as balanced anesthesia.

  1. Twilight

Twilight anesthesia comes with even fewer risks than general anesthesia. Also known as intravenous or conscious sedation, this form of moderate anesthesia is coupled with sedation to keep you calm and without pain during surgery.

But it also enables you to be slightly responsive during surgery so if the surgeon has questions, you’re able to answer them. And you won’t recall the procedure when it’s completed.

  1. Regional

Regional anesthesia is administered with an injection around a major nerve near the surgical site. It doesn’t cause any loss of consciousness, but it does block pain throughout the surgery and often during the initial part of recovery. Regional anesthesia is most often used for procedures on very sensitive parts of the body such as the hands.

  1. Local

Finally, if you’re having a minor procedure that doesn’t require extensive incisions, a local anesthetic is usually the first choice. Local anesthesia differs from regional in that it’s a much less complex injection that merely numbs the area with an agent such as lidocaine. In some cases, your board-certified surgeon may also recommend an oral sedative to keep you calm and relaxed during the procedure.

Are You Ready for Your Procedure?

Now that you’re aware of the different kinds of anesthesia used in plastic surgery, you have a better idea of what to expect.

So take the next step and contact us today to set up your free consultation.

Our board-certified surgeons will answer your questions, address any concerns, and make sure you’re fully informed so you can go into your procedure with complete peace of mind.