A recent article in the NY Times discussed a group of doctors who are boasting the ability to perform breast augmentation surgery while patients are awake. This breast implant procedure is performed in the physician’s office and only requires local anesthesia – boasting lower costs and the ability to interact with patients during the actual surgery.
Traditionally though, and at the practice of Southern Plastic Surgery, breast augmentation surgery is performed in a hospital while the patient is under general anesthesia to ensure patient safety. While the “awake” breast augmentation surgery sounds like a good idea in theory, the safety and legitimacy of it has been called into serious question. Here are just a couple of reasons why I caution against opting for this kind of procedure:
• Performing operations while a patient is awake, under local anesthesia takes an amount of control away from the surgeon and is not conducive to the best possible results.
• Surgeries performed in a physician’s office instead of a hospital are not subject to proper accreditation or safety standards.
• If something goes wrong in surgery or if the patient becomes uneasy by the graphic nature of the surgery there will not be an anesthesiologist or hospital staff on hand to assist.
• Local anesthesia still makes a patient “out of it” – so they may request something like a size change during surgery that they would not otherwise ask for with a sound mind.
• Many people performing these procedures are not board certified or even trained in plastic surgery! (The article notes a non board certified doctor that teaches this procedure to other non-plastic surgery doctors with a two day course!)
• Just as many complications can arise from local anesthesia as from general anesthesia, but with local anesthesia you do not have the support of a hospital or specialist if such a complication should arise.
While some procedures are perfectly safe performed under local anesthesia, a procedure as invasive as breast augmentation is not (at least not yet anyways). You don’t want anyone performing a surgery as serious as a breast augmentation who has not gone to school to study plastic surgery; or who is not board certified by an accredited, third party medical board such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Dr. Whiteman is double board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada and specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery procedures of the face, breasts, and body. If you are interested in learning more about breast augmentation surgery, or any other cosmetic procedure, contact the office of Southern Plastic Surgery today.