According to the American Journal of Surgery, a professional magazine for surgeons, more awake patients are being seen; those patients are having surgeries with only a local anesthetic to block sensations in the area being operated on.
Some surgeons like awake patients in surgery because the surgeon can ask the patient to move this way or that or answer questions during the operation.
But consider: if you are a surgeon with an awake patient who can hear all the sounds – and perhaps see some sights — around him in a typical operating room, it’s not too bad an idea to dismiss the phrase “oops!” from your vocabulary.
You might also want to find another way to ask surgical trainees to step over and take a gander at how your surgical work is going.
Studies have shown that awake patients want trainees and newbie surgeons nowhere near them.
Moreover, studies reveal that awake patients under the knife in operations – like biopsies, abortions, cataract surgery as well as some cosmetic plastic surgery procedures – tend to have shorter recovery times.
Awake patients for cosmetic surgeries often include:
Cosmetic plastic surgeons using local anesthesia usually also provide intravenous sedation medications to awake patients.
(See some Chemical Wrinkle Remover before & after photos)
However, buyer beware: “awake” cosmetic surgery can also be an attempt at cutting corners by doing without an anesthesiologist. To cope, check thoroughly on your surgeon’s qualifications and surgical training.
For instance, Miami plastic surgeon Constantino Mendieta, M.D. avoids awake patients for buttocks and breast augmentation because he does not want the patient to move at a critical moment.
(Learn more about face & neck lift)
Alexander Langerman, M.D., Assistant professor of otolaryngology at Vanderbuilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee and team interviewed 23 surgeons in various specialties about operating on awake patients.
On the plus side, Dr. Langerman said most of the surgeons reported awake surgery was more efficient and satisfying overall. But downsides included talking about patients’ pain during surgery and the chance a patient would make a risky movement. Patients generally are so put off by trainee surgeons, the group of surgeons said it was harder to teach surgical newcomers.
(See some neck sculpture before & after pictures.)
So most surgeons in the study were less likely to allow beginning surgeons to take part in procedures. Surgeons reported trying to make things more comfortable for patients on the operating table by playing music and limiting others from entering and leaving the room.
Some surgeons offered alert patients sedatives to help them relax or fall asleep.