Awake Anesthesia

Awake Anesthesia

“Awake Anesthesia” is not a contradiction. It’s a dream come true. The progressive technique results in safer surgery and quicker recovery. Awake Anesthesia combines a local anesthetic to provide the patient with a peaceful and pain-free procedure. General anesthesia remains safe; it has its place among more complex operations. Awake Anesthesia marks the beginning of a brand new day for patient safety.

Dr. Kenneth Kim is certainly awake to the latest advancements in his profession. His Beverly Hills-based practice, Dream Medical Group, is internationally known as one of the best. Dr. Kim is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and a Rhodes Scholar, he attended medical school at Yale University.

Contact Dream Medical to learn more about our full suite of services. Dr. Kim specializes in Korean aesthetic surgery. Call 213-700-4297 to schedule a consultation. 

About Awake Anesthesia in Los Angeles, California  

They call Los Angeles the “Dream Factory,” but there are no dreams in the deep, dissociative slumber of general anesthesia. In fact, for all but the most difficult operations, it can be a risky proposition.

Awake Anesthesia is a bright, new alternative that effectively removes the most perilous part of many procedures: the anesthesia. 

A study on determining the safety of office‐based surgery found that more than two-thirds of deaths and three-quarters of hospital transfers were associated with cosmetic procedures performed under general anesthesia.[1] Awake Anesthesia avoids these hazards by leaving the patient awake and responsive for the entirety of the operation. Patients feel no discomfort. Though “awake,” they will retain no memory of the surgery.

Awake Anesthesia vs. General Anesthesia[2] 

Fully responsiveUnresponsive
Unrestricted airwayCompromised airway 
Full protective reflexesLoss of protective reflexes

A surgical team must be especially mindful of the patient’s airway when they are operating on a patient under general anesthesia. Asphyxiation is a real risk. Without the patient’s protective reflexes to spare them suffocation, safe and unobstructed breathing is left to the surgeon’s vigilance. 

General anesthesia divides a doctor’s attention while introducing high stakes. Sometimes, the risk is necessary. Often, it is not.    

How Does Local Anesthesia With Sedation Work?

Dr. Kim combines a local anesthetic to ensure his patients are at peace and pain-free when he begins to operate. 

Awake Anesthesia

  • Surgical site is numbed with a local anesthetic 
  • Patient is awake and relaxed but virtually unaware of the procedure taking place
  • Both movement and speech are possible

When the procedure is over, the patient may get up and walk out of the office, unencumbered by side effects like nausea. 

Your Personal Consultation With Dr. Kim

Dr. Kim’s superior training at Berkeley and Yale have helped him rise to the top of the Beverly Hills plastic surgery market—the most competitive plastic surgery scene in the world! Among his specialties, he is an expert in the unique aesthetic needs of Asian plastic surgery. His grateful patients’ video reviews literally speak for themselves.  

Continue the conversation with Dr. Kim both before and after your one-on-one at our Dream Medical Group blog. Don’t sleep on this transformative opportunity, call 213-700-4297 to schedule a consultation. Contact us to learn more. 

Do I Need General Anesthesia for Eyelid Surgery?

Blepharoplasty is a simple procedure requiring only a small set of incisions. In Dr. Kim’s opinion, general anesthesia errs on the side of overdoing it. Granted, eyelid surgery involves sensitive tissues and surgical finesse. However, the risks related to being completely anesthetized only increase the chances of complications.     

Do I Need General Anesthesia for Eyelid Surgery?

General anesthesia is safe, but its inherent difficulties include a marked strain on the cardiovascular system. Patients under Awake Anesthesia are numb and tranquil, but completely responsive. They are capable of tending to their own breathing needs, thus freeing Dr. Kim to focus wholly on the eyes.  

Can You Stay Awake for a Tummy Tuck?

Traditional abdominoplasty is an involved procedure. It is an excisional surgery which involves removing excess skin and tailoring it to your frame. Recovery can be an ordeal for some. Downtime can last three to four weeks and a full rebound may take many months. 

Can You Stay Awake for a Tummy Tuck?

But Dr. Kim’s Rapid Recovery Tummy Tuck is an advanced technique that delivers abdominoplasty’s amazing results, but with fewer risks and shorter recovery time! Awake Anesthesia is the secret of its success.

Rapid Recovery Tummy Tuck

Awake Anesthesia changes the shape of your recovery, potentially shortening it from weeks to just days. Most patients are able to return to work within 48 hours! Rapid Recovery Tummy Tuck is a smoother procedure because patients are still able to respond to questions and talk to Dr. Kim. When your surgery concludes, your body can heal without the added trial of being fully anesthetized. 

Wake Up to a Brand New You

Dream Medical Group is a dream come true for those seeking safe aesthetic surgery with reliable results. Dr. Kim is an expert in his craft at the top of his industry, serving the discerning demands of the Beverly Hills community. 

Wake up to plastic surgery without extended recovery at Dream Medical Group!   


What type of anesthesia is used for plastic surgery?

Plastic surgery procedures typically employ either local, regional or general anesthesia. The objective of conscious sedation is to allow the surgeon to perform the procedure while the patient is in a state of restful anesthetized wakefulness. 

Conscious sedation has several advantages over deep sedation and general anesthesia. Both deep sedation and general anesthesia completely quell one’s responses to external stimuli. In conscious sedation, there is no risk of the patient’s airway being compromised. With the loss of protective reflexes that come with deep anesthesia, the chances of unintended asphyxiation significantly increase. 

Local anesthesia is most popularly implemented for minimally invasive surgeries like blepharoplasty, chin implants and some small-scale liposuction procedures. In favorable contrast to general anesthesia, patients report easier management over post-op pain with local anesthesia.     

Are you awake during plastic surgery?

Your degree of alertness shall be determined by your type of anesthesia. New techniques have recently expanded the range of utility for local anesthesia with sedation. It is a safer and easier way to dull the discomfort of minimally invasive operations. Patients under local anesthesia are completely conscious, if extremely relaxed, thanks to the sedative. Also called “Awake Anesthesia,” you will remain awake while the doctor performs your breast enhancement, liposuction or blepharoplasty. This technique shortens recovery time and often helps the procedure itself run more smoothly.   

In general anesthesia, you are completely asleep. General anesthesia is still the preferred means for the most involved operations. But it comes with its own risks. In addition to increasing the likelihood of mid-surgical mishaps, shaking the effects of heavy drugs takes time away from your recovery.    

What is the safest anesthesia?

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) says “The safest type of anesthesia is local anesthesia.”[3] And though they are clear that general anesthesia is “very safe,” the ASA also acknowledges its hazards. Anesthesiologists are especially sensitive to respiratory issues in a potential patient. Conditions like asthma, sleep apnea and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may cause complications while one is under the influence of the anesthetic drugs. Because, in general anesthesia, the patient’s central nervous system is completely suppressed, protective reflexes that would otherwise guard against accidental asphyxiation are rendered inert. Therefore, it is one of the anesthesiologist’s duties to monitor a patient during surgery, especially in cases when the patient is not alert.       

Why do you need someone to stay with you after surgery?

Regardless if you think you feel fine, you should have a friend or family member stay with you for your first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Your physical mobility may be limited, so simple routines like washing and feeding yourself—even going to the bathroom—can become impossible undertakings. You may need assistance changing bandages, cleaning draining tubes or following any of your other personalized post-op aftercare instructions. Your safe and speedy recovery depends on it! 

If you went under general anesthesia, there will be additional difficulties. A helping hand is doubly important as your own good sense and judgment will be unreliable until the disorienting effects of the drugs have worn off. You may experience complications from your procedure, like dizziness, nausea and bleeding. With your wits dulled, you will have to rely on the sharp mind of your recovery buddy to keep your recuperation on track.       


  1. Ratz, J. (2012). Faculty of 1000 evaluation for Determining the safety of office-based surgery: what 10 years of Florida data and 6 years of Alabama data reveal. F1000 – Post-Publication Peer Review of the Biomedical Literature. doi: 10.3410/f.14250958.15764058
  2. Whizar-Lugo, V. M., & Cárdenas-Maytorena, A. C. (2018, November 7). Anesthesia for Plastic Surgery Procedures. Retrieved February 11, 2020, from 
  3. Anesthesia Risks and Assessment – When Seconds Count. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2020, from 
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