Question: My sister in law came to you last year for a complete facelift in Toronto she looks remarkable. I would love a facelift but I’m very sensitive to general anesthesia. In the past I’ve been sick for days after being given general. Can I get a facelift using local anesthesia?
Answer: Facelifting procedures are very complex and the type of anesthesia is based on the particular procedure planned and the patient factors. Depending on the length of the procedure, a general anesthetic where the patient goes to sleep with a tube or another device placed to protect the airways is used and the patient is monitored. Occasionally, for different procedures, the intravenous sedations can be given as well as close monitoring. However, it is very important to determine what the safest method is. I would not want to recommend giving a patient intravenous drugs where the amount of sedation is so advanced that they have trouble protecting their breathing and have significant risk of obstructing their airway. It may be better in cases like this to put a tube and to control the airways and to have a very safe procedure. The primary goal of any surgical procedure is patient safety. This is the front and center of any procedure. It is important to take a complete medical history and also to have an anesthetist involved to determine what happened after the anesthetic that you were given and why you were sick. Maybe this was an anesthetic done in the remote past and newer agents will not cause the sickness. There can be allergic reactions to anesthetics and if this was your reaction it should also be known. In summary, the key to determining the best anesthesia to perform your facelift with depends on a complete anesthetic and medical history followed by discussion of the disadvantages and benefits of each technique with the primary goal being patient safety.