Everything You Need To Know About Twilight Anesthesia
Some patients are hesitant to undergo cosmetic surgery strictly because of the need for general anesthesia. Indeed general anesthesia does have its downsides, such as the need for breathing assistance (ventilation), nausea-related side effects, and increased costs. There is an alternative to general anesthesia called twilight anesthesia.
What is twilight anesthesia?
Twilight anesthesia is an anesthetic technique that uses mild doses of drugs to block pain, reduce anxiety, and provide a temporary memory loss, thus enabling patients to feel comfortable during and after surgical procedures. With twilight anesthesia a patient is sedated but remains conscious in what’s commonly referred to as a “twilight state”. The patient is sleepy but still responsive and able to follow direction or communicate with their surgeon. Typically, a local anesthetic that’s applied to the surgical site is used in conjunction with twilight anesthesia to ensure a pain-free experience for the patient.
The drugs used in twilight anesthesia are similar to those used in general anesthesia, but the doses are lower. Specific drugs commonly used include: fentanyl, valium, ketamine, midazolam, or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). These drugs can be reversed quickly, so the patient can be woken up in a matter of minutes.
How does twilight anesthesia differ from general anesthesia?
The primary difference between general and twilight anesthesia is the degree of consciousness of the patient. In general anesthesia patients are put in an induced coma making them completely unconscious; resulting in the loss of control of reflexes and the autonomic nervous system. While under general anesthesia patients breath with the help of a ventilator as their normal muscular functions may become impaired making it necessary for breathing tubes and a ventilator to be used.
In contrast twilight anesthesia patients remain semi-conscious and ventilation is not required.
Is twilight anesthesia better than general anesthesia?
Overall, twilight anesthesia has many benefits compared to traditional techniques including:
- Ventilation is not required
- Quicker average recovery times
- Reduced anesthesia based side effects like nausea and vomiting
- Reduced risk of complications
- Lower general cost
However your plastic surgeon will review your medical history to determine if twilight anesthesia is right for you.
What procedures can be done under twilight anesthesia?
Twilight anesthesia can be used during many popular plastic surgery procedures. Some of these include:
- Breast Augmentation
- Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)
- Chin Implant
- Laser Resurfacing