The most common concern for many patients may surprise you. It’s not about the actual operation or downtime but the risks associated with anaesthesia along with any permanent scarring. Let us walk you through the process.
Whether are a first-timer or you may be familiar in preparing for surgery, there is often angst surrounding the application of anaesthesia and what side effects you may encounter.
During your consultation with Dr Chang, your intended surgical procedure will be discussed along with any other options that may be available to you. This includes learning how general anaesthesia is applied, what it feels like when you are being “put under” and the risks that are associated with any type of anaesthesia.
Surgery should always be treated as a big deal.
Yes, as any surgical procedure carries risks. However, undergoing general anaesthesia is generally safe and most patients are usually suitable candidates.
In situations where any type of invasive surgery can be avoided, Dr Chang will recommend the best and safest non-surgical procedure to consider in order to achieve a similar result. But if surgery is for you, it is important to remember that the risk factors are often more associated with your overall health and the type of surgery you will be having rather than the type of anaesthesia you will be administered.
How will I know if I am a suitable candidate for surgery?
Before you elect to undergo any cosmetic procedure with Dr Chang, your medical and lifestyle history and general health will be reviewed. This will include your age, past and present medications, your general fitness and health, any medical conditions including high blood pressure and diabetes, your lifestyle [whether you are a smoker or have a history of excess alcohol] you have a predisposition to drug allergies, if you have had any adverse reactions to any type of anaesthesia in the past.
A doctor’s referral will also be required.
The importance of being straightforward.
Your safety and well-being is Dr Chang’s number one priority.
You must be very honest during the consultation and outline other ailments, past medical conditions and current medications that may impact the anaesthesia.
This includes having a predisposition to seizures, high blood pressure, diabetes, history of strokes, obstructive sleep apnoea, or any medical conditions involving your heart, lungs or kidneys. Even if you have particularly sensitive skin including allergies to latex, nickel and any medicine including penicillin. Most allergies do not pose to be a threat but they can still cause great discomfort and often require antihistamines or topical corticosteroids.
If you are deemed as a medical risk for any form of elective surgery Dr Chang may decline to proceed.
What are some of the risks that may compromise my safety?
Some of the possible complications may include bleeding, inflammation and infection, the development of postoperative haematomas, allergic reaction to the anaesthesia and materials used during the operation, sudden cardiovascular such as heart attack.
It is important to note that undergoing any procedure with a FRACS-qualified surgeon will minimise risks. Dr Chang has over 30 years of experience performing cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.
What happens if I wake up during surgery?
It is very rare for patients to experience “intraoperative awareness” and even rarer for patients to experience any level of pain if they do become partially awake.
Dr Chang’s in-surgery team includes an experienced and certified anesthesiologist who will monitor you throughout the procedure.
What does the procedure entail?
Before your scheduled surgery, a nurse will sedate you with a muscle relaxant. You will also be given a clear outline of what to expect before the team administers the anaesthesia via injection or IV drips.
What will I feel with the anaesthesia takes effect?
When the medication reaches your bloodstream, the effect is very quick and it is likely that you will not remember anything beyond the first few seconds of feeling the anaesthesia.
How does anaesthesia work?
During the operation, the general anaesthetic will function at four different levels – to sedate you into unconsciousness, make your body immobile, and prevent you from feeling any pain and having any memory of the experience. Additionally, your anesthesiologist will continuously monitor your blood pressure, body temperature and oxygen levels, check for any fluid loss and ensure that your level of unconsciousness remains stable while you remain asleep.
What happens when the operation is over?
After surgery, your anesthesiologist will reverse the medications and you will be moved to a recovery room, where you will wake up. During this time, you may experience grogginess, a dry mouth, confusion and mild nausea but mostly, the effects are temporary and your nurse will continue to monitor your oxygen levels and other vital signs.
Other side effects may include:
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Mild hoarseness of the voice
Will I be in pain when I wake up?
You may also experience some pain or discomfort caused by the procedure. This is common with tummy tucks, breast and arm-lift surgeries, and body liposuction. Dr Chang will assess you and assist with any prescribed medication to reduce the pain during your initial recovery.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience is unique, however, patient safety and care are always at the forefront of all surgeries.
Outpatient or Overnight Stay
Any surgical operation that requires general anaesthesia with an overnight stay will be performed in an accredited private hospital near our Burwood clinic.
As a private clinic, we are also equipped to perform day surgeries [in particular, blepharoplasty, double-chin reduction and liposuction procedures including double-chin reduction].
Dr Chang will discuss the process of your surgery, what level of anaesthesia that will be required to perform and how long the surgery will likely take.
Preparing For Your Surgery
Before you undergo any surgical procedure, Dr Chang will provide you with instructions on how to prepare for surgery.
- Fasting [all food and fluids up to six hours before the scheduled surgery
- Managing any medications including insulin, steroids, anti-inflammatory drugs, and over-the-counter aspirin and dietary supplements tablets up to a week before your procedure. This includes naturopathic substances that may cause clotting. You may also be prescribed a course of antibiotics if you’re at risk of possible inflection.
- Managing your best weight and fitness levels, which both will play an important role in your recovery process
- Presenting any X-rays, blood tests or ECGs [electrocardiographs] if you have a heart condition
- Preparing for your recovery at home. This includes having a friend or relative driving you to and from the clinic or hospital, having freshly laundered linen and supply of pillows, ice packs, assistance if required [from physical to meal preparations, chemist and medical] and phone and charger for emergency calls.
Will my scars be prominent?
Any procedure or surgery that requires incisions and sutures will leave scar tissue, which is a normal part of the skin’s healing process. Scarring is also permanent, however, the type of procedure, the location, size and depth of the incision and how it heals will also determine the extent of the scars’ visibility.
Other factors include:
- The number of sutures that will be required [ie: for tummy tucks and armlifts]
- Your age, lifestyle and genetics
- Your unique physical composition including the level of pigmentation in your skin – whether you have a predisposition to developing hypertrophic scars [red scarring that is raised and itchy] or keloid scars [thick or puckered scarring that grows on the outside edges of the original wound].
- If you experience any complications after surgery including infection, bleeding and inflammation.
- If you are a smoker or have diabetes as the healing process will be more drawn-out.
- It is important to remember that the thickness and pinkness in the scarring may fade over time.
If you have any concerns with potential scarring, consult with Dr Chang on the various laser and Broadband Light therapies that are available to help minimise their appearance.
Please consult with our practice manager, Jane Leong on all associated procedure costs.