General Anesthesia During Breast Augmentation Surgery
General anesthesia is commonly used during breast augmentation surgeries as well as many other types of surgeries performed every day throughout the world. It can be described as a "medically induced coma", but in actuality, it sounds much, much more frightening than it really is.
General anesthesia guarantees that you feel no pain during your breast augmentation surgery. Because you are completely unconscious, you are unable to respond to painful stimuli, and you are guaranteed not to remember anything. These are all pluses!
If you receive general anesthesia during your procedure, you will be intubated. Intubation means that your airway is being managed by your CRNA and/or anesthesiologist. Because general anesthesia stops all of the bodies natural reflexes, including breathing, an ETT (endotracheal tube) or an LMA (laryngeal mask airway) will be inserted into your airway via mouth. The LMA is much more popular these days as it is less invasive than the ETT, and is does not seem to irritate the throat like the ETT. A sore throat is common after general anesthesia, and can happen with either the ETT or the LMA.
During your time under general anesthesia, your blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, blood oxygen level, and temperature will be monitored continuously.
Your anesthesiologist or CRNA may give you medication intravenously. A common medication used at this point of the anesthesia process is midazolam, also known as Versed, Dormicum, and Hypnovel. Midazolam is in the benzodiazepine class of drugs, the same class in which you find Valium, Xanax, and other sedatives. If you receive Versed via your IV, you will quickly begin to feel relaxed and at ease. It is important to note that midazolam does not render you completely unconscious. It simply acts to relax and calm you. It also acts as an amnestic (facilitates memory loss). The only loss of memory you'll have is the time you are under the midazolam, and of course, while you're under general anesthesia.
At this point, you likely will not remember anything. Once you are relaxed, general anesthesia will be induced. It may be in the form of Propofol via the IV, or via sevoflurane inhaled through a face mask, or a combination of both. You may also receive an opioid, which helps to keep blood pressure and heart rate low. Because patients can get nervous regarding general anesthesia, intubation, etc., opioids are often administered to curtail a rise in blood pressure or heart rate. You may also receive anti-nausea medication via your IV.
Your anesthesiologist will then secure your airway with either an ETT or LMA. Once this has been accomplished, your plastic surgeon can begin performing your breast augmentation procedure. Your vital signs will be monitored throughout your procedure, and your anesthesiologist or CRNA will maintain your anesthesia the entire time.
Waking Up from General Anesthesia
Towards the end of your procedure, the anesthesia being administered will slowly be decreased by your CRNA or anesthesiologist. You will probably receive a strong pain killer to keep you comfortable in the recovery room. As the anesthetics wear off, your airway is opened (ETT or LMA is removed), and you will be breathing on your own.
You will be very groggy when you wake up. You may feel like it is impossible to keep your eyes open, but don't worry, you'll come around. You'll be sleepy, sore, and possibly nauseous. If you are sick to your stomach, let your recovery nurse, or your surgeon or anesthesiologist know so that they can give you something to help alleviate that.
Once you're good and awake, you will likely be given something to drink, and you may be offered some crackers, or something to that effect. After an hour or so, you will be free to dress and go home so that you can begin your recovery.