Plastic Surgeons Warn Against “Awake” SurgeriesPosted on February 3, 2011 | by Boston Plastic Surgery
An alarming new trend in cosmetic procedures is taking hold and respected surgeons in the plastic surgery field want to warn patients about the dangers of some procedures marketed as “Awake cosmetic surgery.”
Awake surgeries are now being noticed not for the beautiful results they yield (they often do not), but rather the unsafe conditions and unprofessional manner in which they are conducted. According to an article on msnbc.com, patients who have undergone Awake procedures, such as extensive liposuction and breast augmentations, are now raising their voices against the doctors who performed the procedures with little training that left them in great pain and with poor results.
These patients’ stories stress the importance of looking into your plastic surgeon’s background and making sure he/she is board certified to perform the procedure you wish to undergo.
Awake patients are given an unknown mixture of drugs without an anesthesiologist present. Aside from a cheaper cost, the main selling point of Awake procedures is that the patient remains somewhat conscious during the procedure and can evaluate the result before completion of the surgery, however, with an unknown amount of drugs coursing through their system, it’s unclear how lucid these patients truly are.
Philadelphia plastic surgeon Bruce Genter says there are instances when local anesthesia is appropriate (with sedation), but a skilled plastic surgeon knows when general anesthesia is necessary.
“Most often sedation is needed for large operations with local anesthesia, but at a certain point, general anesthesia makes more sense,” Genter says. “Too much local anesthesia can result in dangerous overdoses.”
The final chilling fact about Awake procedures is that for a doctor to perform Awake procedures (as approved by a nebulous “academy” located in Arizona), he/she only needs to undergo two days of training, whereas a board certified plastic surgeon has undergone years of training and a residency program.
To avoid the pain, both physical and emotional, and the poor surgical outcome, it is important to keep a few things in mind when looking into a cosmetic procedure.
- Research your surgeon and verify that he/she is board-certified to perform the procedure
- Insist on an open dialogue with your surgeon and learn about the techniques he/she uses
- Ask to see before and after photos from the surgeon’s previous patients and read patient testimonials, if available