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IV Sedation: A Safe Alternative to General Anesthesia

IV SedationIf you're considering having cosmetic surgery but are concerned about anesthesia, there's good news. IV sedation is a safe and reliable alternative for many procedures.

In fact, a study at UCLA deemed IV sedation safe for patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement, a minimally invasive procedure. Study researchers found patients who had IV sedation had a similar rate of adverse events to those who underwent anesthesia as well as shorter hospital stays and lower overall costs.

Specifically, aortic valve replacement patients who received IV sedation stayed in an intensive care unit 30 hours compared to 96 hours for general anesthesia patients. They also had shorter hospital stays: five days versus 10.4 days. And IV sedation patients had 28 percent lower direct costs for their care.

For this surgery, IV sedation is particularly important since most patients are older than 75 and general anesthesia poses a significant risk. Fortunately, this study shows that IV sedation is a safe alternative for some heart surgeries. It's also been used successfully in cosmetic and dental procedures for many years.

How is IV Sedation Performed?

Drugs are administered intravenously through a small catheter, usually placed in the arm. Your consciousness level and breathing status are carefully monitored as the medicine drifts you off to sleep. During the procedure, you will feel no pain, nor will you be aware of your surroundings. Afterwards, you'll have no memory of the procedure. Unlike general anesthesia, you will not be paralyzed and will not need a breathing tube.

Will I Feel Pain?

No. Not only will the IV sedation prevent you from remembering the procedure, but you'll also receive additional anesthetic drugs to block pain. These drugs generally last for several hours after you wake up, therefore reducing the need for narcotic pain relief following surgery.

Other Benefits

Patients who have IV sedation don't feel as groggy and potentially nauseated upon waking. That means you feel like yourself again quickly, instead of waiting for hours for the anesthesia side effects to abate. And since a breathing tube isn't required, your throat won't be sore and scratchy after the procedure.

Are there risks?

There are always risks associated with any type of surgery or anesthesia. Over-sedation is perhaps the biggest risk with IV sedation. If it occurs, a patient's breathing may become depressed, so supplemental oxygen is required. However, an experienced anesthesia provider will prevent over-sedation from occurring in the first place.

When is IV sedation used?

IV sedation is the right choice for many cosmetic surgery procedures, including breast augmentations, tummy tucks, and facelifts. It is also an option for liposuction, fat transfer, and other cosmetic procedures.

Have questions about IV sedation? Schedule a personal consultation with a GLOW Surgical Arts cosmetic surgeon, and we'll be happy to talk about your anesthesia options. Schedule an appointment today by calling 650-562-6762 or request an appointment using our online form.