ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED on REALSELF website MAY 2013 "Conscious Sedation vs. General Anaesthesia with Noseplasty (rhinoplasty) The debate of whether general anaesthesia or conscious sedation is more appropriate for rhinoplasty essentially hinges on the training and experience of the surgeon and the experience and training of the specialist anaesthetist administering the conscious sedation medication. I emphasise that this is important and you must select your surgeon and he will advise you which technique he is comfortable with. I totally disagree that it is not possible to perform a total block of the pain fibres of the nose. Obviously a correct technique and experience to do this correctly has to be followed. A total block of the nose is definitely possible and has been performed on thousands of cases and is being performed daily in clinics in England at our clinic in South Africa. Revision rhinoplasty with open approach lasting up to four hours are being performed with conscious sedation without problem. The patients on questioning after surgery reply that they felt no pain, no stress and are very happy and comfortable to recommend the procedure. I also disagree with the doctors who claim that general anaesthesia is safer than conscious sedation for rhinoplasty. With conscious sedation delivered by a specialist anaesthetist experienced in the technique and with the correct equipment conscious sedation is less traumatic, leads to a quicker post surgery recovery, is more comfortable and is safer than general anaesthesia. The known risks of general anaesthesia are numerous. Ask any specialist anaesthetist and they will enumerate the following risks and negative aspects associated with general anaesthesia. • Problems and post surgical complications associated with laryngeal tube usage such as difficulty in inserting the tube, danger of injury to the vocal cords, possibility of voice changes due to tube as a result of excessive compression or irritation of the vocal cords. • A usual painful throat post operatively due to the pharyngeal packing which is used for nasal surgery to prevent blood entering the trachea. • Possibility of damage to dentition by instrumentation of the mouth and jaw in order to insert the laryngeal tube. • Possibility of aspiration into the lungs of blood or stomach contents (if you happen to vomit) due to the fact that the laryngo-pharyngeal reflexes are ablated by the administration of muscle paralysing medication. • Possibility of deep vein thrombosis with prolonged anaesthetic. • Malignent Hyperthermia. • Recovery of full consciousness after an hour or two of anaesthesia can take quite a long time and you must be carefully monitored in intensive care recovery unit. • The patients are generally unresponsive for a long time and needs hours to be protected until recovered. Also be aware that for general anaesthesia your are usually admitted as an in-patient, whereas in conscious sedation you can go home after an hour or two of rest. None of the above complications occur with conscious sedation. With conscious sedation understandably and obviously the surgeon must be trained to perform rhinoplasty with nose block and work as a team with the specialist anaesthetist. And obviously care is taken during the surgical technique that blood does not pass into the naso-pharynx. This prevention of blood passing into the nasopharynx is part of the surgical technique of noseplasty but if some blood does enter the nasopharynx the laryngo-pharyngeal reflexes and cough reflexes are intact and aspiration cannot occur and any blood is easily sucked up by your surgeon. The beauty of the conscious sedation methodology is that there is no pain and no stress or apprehension and you are maintained in a mentally relaxed state and because of the vasoconstrictive effect of the nose block, and because your muscular tone and the reflexes are retained, bleeding is minimal. As a matter of fact it is very often (in a closed approach) as little as from a tooth extraction. At the end of the surgery you walk out of the theatre within 15 minutes as conscious as when you walked in, whereas with general anaesthesia patients have to be wheeled out completely debilitated and overwhelmed by paralysing drugs and medication which takes considerable time to be eliminated from the system. In any event rhinoplasty is a minimally invasive when correctly and expertly performed and when care and the correct surgical protocols are followed. General anaesthetic is ‘overkill’ for such a minimally invasive procedure and exposes patients to risks for a surgically minor, cosmetic, unnecessary and elective procedure. Dr. J. Calinikos MD FRCS (Edin) Facial rhinoplasty surgeon." If you wish to comment please do so from Contact Us message box.