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Should you have sedation or a general anaesthetic for facelift surgery?

Hello and thanks for clicking through! This may be a slightly unusual place to start thinking about choosing me for your facelift, but for many people having sedation rather than a general anaesthetic for the procedure is a powerful deciding factor.

If you are in the UK and researching having a facelift, you will inevitably come across statements like 'a full facelift requires a general anaesthetic'. This is in fact complete nonsense. The main reason surgeons and anaesthetists recommend a general anaesthetic for facelift surgery (and indeed other types of facial cosmetic surgery) is because it is easier for them! The other main reason is that they have no experience of carrying out full facelifts under sedation and therefore think it cannot be done. Hardly very compelling reasons to undergo a general anaesthetic, especially when you actually don't need one at all! Our view is that sedation is better than general anaesthesia for face lift surgery in every respect.

Let's look at general anaesthesia first. There is no doubt that sedation is safer than general anaesthesia. Because you are exposed to fewer drugs and maintain complete control of your airway reflexes, the risks to you are significantly reduced if you have sedation. There are also many medical conditions that make general anaesthesia potentially more hazardous - with sedation most intercurrent medical conditions become essentially irrelevant.

However, where sedation is a clear winner over general anaesthesia, is the face that you typically feel much better after sedation than after a general anaesthetic. You may have read accounts or heard from your friends of people describing as if 'they had been run over by a bus' after a facelift. We simply do not ever hear this from our face lift patients, so it follows that it must be primarily an effect of the general anaesthetic. Nausea, vomiting, sore throat and a 'hangover' are common problems after a general anaesthetic. Again, our patients simply do not suffer from these problems after a facelift under sedation and local anaesthetic.

Key to successful facelift surgery under sedation is a close working relationship between surgeon and anaesthetist. Good local anaesthesia (injected when the patient is already sedated) is the cornerstone of effective treatment. Our Consultant Surgeon and Consultant Anaesthetist have perfected this over many years of working together. Our use of sedation rather than general anaesthesia is a very powerful reason why our patients get back to their normal routine so rapidly after an Advanced Mini Facelift.

If you would rather 'not know anything about it' then that's fine – you can choose to be more deeply sedated so that you have no awareness of events at all – it's your choice. You can be as lightly or deeply sedated as you wish.

There are some other spin off benefits to having a facelift under sedation rather than a general anaesthetic. It's easier on the pocket, too! Because surgery can take place in a minor operations suite rather than a main theatre setting, the hospital costs are drastically reduced and we pass these savings on directly to patients. This is the primary reason our fees are so competitive.

So where should you go from here? To find out more about the sedation technique we use and what happens in practice, you might want to look at the sedation page of our website. There are also many first-hand accounts from our patients describing their experience of having a facelift under sedation and local anaesthesia on our Forum. You may wish to look at some of our video material on this important topic - simply follow a link on the right hand side.

Alternatively, you might want to go right back to the beginning and follow the patient journey for patients who are considering an Advanced Mini Facelift. The journey starts here...

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