Awake breast augmentation functions much the same as standard breast augmentation, but the patient is not placed under general anesthesia during the procedure. Although this might seem intimidating, this practice carries a slew of benefits. Despite the numerous benefits, patients may have some hesitation about the procedure. Namely, patients want to know how does awake breast augmentation feel?
More and more patients are finding that awake procedures are overall preferable to standard ones for a variety of reasons. They find that oftentimes, they are experiencing safer and more effective operations at the end of the day.
How Does Awake Breast Augmentation Feel?
If you are interested in whether or not an awake breast augmentation would fit your needs, you can take a look at our overview of the procedure.
How Awake Breast Augmentation Feels: The Physical Side
We use an effective local anesthetic to numb the surgical area. That is, we ensure all the nerve fibers are blocked before beginning the procedure. In traditional surgery, even thought he patient is unconscious, these fibers are still active and respond to the incisions. Thus, when the patient awakens, they are in greater pain as those nerve fibers continue to fire, sending messages of pain to the brain.
With Dr. Kim’s awake procedures, patients only experience mild discomfort following the surgery, with over-the-counter medication being enough to manage it. This way, patients avoid taking strong pain-killers that use opioids, which present a high potential for addiction. With an awake procedure, patients may need Tylenol for a day or two, and that is all.
Additionally, the dose and injection sites are optimized to ensure virtually no pain or discomfort during the surgery. However, patients can still experience some sensations at the very beginning, such as minor pressure. However, Dr. Kim’s technique is centered around minimizing any damage to the breast tissues, so patients should have little to no sensation.
How Awake Breast Augmentation Feels: The Psychological Aspect
When approaching surgery, patients tend to have three sources of psychological concern:
- A fear about not waking up (some patients do not wake up from general anesthesia)
- A worry about waking up to results that do not match expectations
- And concern about pain
An awake procedure alleviates these three concerns. First, since there is not putting the patient to sleep, there is no concern about not waking up. You are awake the entire time with only local numbing used. Secondly, Dr Kim provides sizers during the surgery itself to confirm the shape and size of the breast meets your expectations, so by the time your procedure is complete you have results that align to your expectations. You will have real-time visual confirmation about the size and appearance of your breasts, placing you in full control of your results. With regard to pain, Dr. Kim’s experience in providing the optimal amount of numbing ensures a fully painless surgery with only minimal discomfort following the surgery.
Thus, patients can approach their awake breast augmentation feeling confident and secure in the knowledge that there is nothing unexpected ahead. They will maintain full control over their own body throughout the procedure, ensuring the results perfectly match their goals.
Lastly, for some patients, the idea of being conscious for surgery can be alarming. However, patient experience reports show that the procedure is well tolerated, even among patients who were first concerned. Still, there are options for using very light sedation to ease anxiety during the procedure.
How Do You Feel After the Procedure?
Following surgeries with general anesthesia, patients tend to experience several side effects. While for some these may be mild, many patients experience nausea, grogginess, dizziness to varying degrees. Post-operative delirium is not uncommon as well.
An awake breast augmentation avoids these by using only local anesthetic. Patients feel close to normal following a procedure, as local anesthetic has none of the side effects that are so common with general anesthesia. Additionally, patients report not feeling tired after an awake procedure, as the surgery results in minimal blood loss due to the more precise techniques used. Higher amounts of blood loss in traditional procedures can leave patients feeling weaker or fatigued for hours to days following a procedure.
Another advantage is that patients can move their arms immediately following the procedure. With traditional surgery, patients have extremely limited range of motion for their arms post-procedure due to pain and swelling. An awake procedure causes minimal damage to tissues, resulting in a quick and convenient healing process.
Basics of Breast Augmentation
Although there are several different types of breast augmentation, the main objective is to improve breast size and volume.
One of the most common techniques for augmenting the breasts involves silicone implants. This kind of operation is generally regarded as being safe. It does, however, come with some hazards if you do not choose an experienced surgeon. Working with an experienced surgeon not only improves outcomes but allows for increased patient safety.
The Psychological Advantages of Breast Augmentation
A positive perception of one’s body frequently leads to a positive perception of oneself generally in our society. A woman’s breasts can represent many different symbolic characteristics of her femininity, attractiveness, and other attributes. Negative emotional effects can permeate nearly every aspect of a patient’s life when they are dissatisfied with a physically noticeable feature, such as their breasts.
Enhancing Our Knowledge of Human Anatomy
The intricacies of human anatomy have become more widely understood in the last few decades. In particular, we now have a better grasp of the nuances required in adjusting specific tissues during the delicate procedures of plastic surgery. This has a variety of benefits for awake surgery, which relies on a more refined approach that avoids tissue damage. The greater confidence the doctor and the patient have has greatly enhanced the potential results.
Medical advances and personal experience are the two key factors in producing a safer, milder procedure. Together, these reduce the need to put patients under general anesthesia, instead using only local anesthetic. Additionally, a greater knowledge of has made many procedures that were once complex reconstructive surgeries much simpler.
Awake Cosmetic Surgery: Fundamentals
Any technique that does not require general anesthesia on the patient is referred to as awake plastic surgery. General anesthesia involves injecting anesthetic material throughout the patient’s body to render them fully unconscious.
A patient undergoing an awake procedure is merely given a local anesthetic. During a surgical procedure, a local anesthetic only affects the surgical target area while the patient remains conscious. Since awake plastic surgery may accomplish many of the same outcomes as procedures requiring general anesthesia, its popularity has grown dramatically in recent years.
A large number of traditional plastic surgery operations can be carried out while the patient is awake. The amount of tasks that can be completed while awake will undoubtedly increase over time with additional medical advances.
Find Out If an Awake Procedure Is Right for You
To find out if you are a suitable fit for an awake operation, you can set up a pre-surgical appointment. In general, awake operations will qualify even more patients than traditional procedures. This is a result of the restrictions imposed on those who aren’t considered healthy enough to undergo general anesthesia.
You will review a lot of pertinent information regarding your impending surgery with your physician during your pre-operative appointment.
Among these particulars are items such as the following:
- Your family’s medical history
- Your own medical history
- Any medications you may be taking
- Your lifestyle choices and any probable contraindications
In general, there’s a good chance you will get approved for the surgery you want.
Before the Procedure: Creating Your Plan
At Dr. Kim’s practice, patients can see what their breasts will look like before proceeding with the surgery. By using sizers, Dr. Kim can allow patients to see what their breast size and shape will look like, ensuring they feel comfortable and confident in moving forward with a size and shape that suits them. Once the patient selects their implant type and size according to the sizers, Dr. Kim then performs the surgery to produce results precisely in line with the patient’s expectations.
Why Avoid General Anesthesia?
The body experiences extreme stress when under general anesthesia, and for certain people, receiving treatment may even be actively prevented. This is because anesthesia may cause problems for those with specific chronic illnesses. This includes people with illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease.
As a result, doctors typically decide against doing surgery on patients who may experience problems from general anesthesia. This implies that a large number of people are disqualified from whatever procedures they may choose. The general anesthesia procedure may be quite taxing on the bodies of even healthier people.
Furthermore, the use of general anesthesia is quite expensive and is usually one of the primary causes of financial stress on the patient. Skipping it altogether has the potential to save one a significant amount of money.
Health Risks Associated with General Anesthesia
Unfortunately, there are other potential health risks associated with general anesthesia. Certain risks can be extremely dangerous and cost-prohibitive based on your medical history.
The following are a few health hazards connected to general anesthesia:
- Blood clots
- Heart complications
- Heart attacks
- Memory loss
Patients who anticipate potential difficulties from undergoing general anesthetic should seriously consider an awake procedure as a viable alternative, as it generally yields comparable results to a surgery utilizing the drug.
When one can perform the same types of procedures and achieve the same (or better) results without the use of general anesthesia, it quickly becomes apparent that forgoing the procedure saves one time and medical risks. This makes it an attractive option for most patients.
For Whom Is the Surgery Designed?
Patients with a wide range of issues, including those dissatisfied with the original outcomes of their breast augmentation procedures, can benefit from some form of awake breast procedure.
In general, breast augmentation can have some positive impacts on anyone who is dissatisfied with the way their breasts look.
Awake Breast Revision in Particular
More precisely, individuals with the following ailments may benefit from a breast revision procedure:
- Inverted nipples
- Capsular contracture
- Implant displacement
- Surgical error
- Excessive or insufficient-sized implants
- Downward-pointing breasts
- Stretch marks
One essential thing you can expect to go through during your meeting with your doctor is a medical check-up to see whether you are physically sound and healthy enough to bear the stress of surgery.
During your evaluation, you should be very honest with your doctor about any information you think might be relevant. This covers details about your medical background, surgical history, family history, and lifestyle choices.
Most healthy people will ultimately be deemed eligible for the treatment, so you should be approved unless you have severe health problems.
Getting Ready for Your Procedure
The patient’s unique situation and the kinds of problems that are addressed during the operation will determine the exact results. You and your doctor will have a pre-operative consultation before your procedure. You will talk about all of your aspirations and ambitions for your impending procedure during this time.
Furthermore, before to your procedure, your doctor can have a lot of advice and instructions that they would like you to abide by. Overall, since it might significantly impact how your procedure is carried out, it will be in your best advantage to adhere to these rules as precisely as possible before your operation.
Recognizing Typical Discomforts
You should anticipate a couple of common discomforts following your surgery. These consist of items such as the following:
- Brief discomfort, soreness, and numbness.
- Hypersensitivity in the breasts’ various regions, including the nipples
- Swelling and bruises in the breasts
Also worthy of note is that:
- The breasts heal at varying rates following surgery
- The tingling feelings that initially occur are normal and eventually go away
You can encounter additional mild side effects. But most of these are organic and result from the body’s normal healing process. Monitoring for prolonged periods of pain or uncomfortable sensations will help to ensure your safety and optimize the outcome of your procedure.
Organizing a Consultation
Arranging a meeting with your surgeon can assist the two of you in devising a strategy for a smooth surgical procedure. You will be able to talk about the specifics of your impending procedure and any other pertinent issues pertaining to your particular health state. By sharing all of this information, you can increase your chances of a successful and safe surgical procedure.
The Awake Breast Augmentation Expert of Los Angeles
Dr. Kenneth Kim and his award-winning team of medical professionals live to serve the LA community the best in Awake breast augmentation. If you’re interested in some of the benefits surrounding this procedure, contact Dream Medical Group today in order to schedule an appointment.
- Han HH, Kim KK, Lee KH, Kim IB, Lee PK. The Use of a Retromammary Adipofascial Flap in Breast Augmentation for Patients with Thin Soft Tissue. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2018;42(6):1447-1456. doi:10.1007/s00266-018-1215-x
- Strock LL. Surgical Approaches to Breast Augmentation: The Transaxillary Approach. Clin Plast Surg. 2015;42(4):585-593. doi:10.1016/j.cps.2015.06.014
- Vanni G, Costanzo G, Pellicciaro M, et al. Awake Breast Surgery: A Systematic Review. In Vivo. 2023;37(4):1412-1422. doi:10.21873/invivo.13225