Article Medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic physician, liposuctionist)
Templestowe Lower and Berwick Clinics
Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2004, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction, fat transfer, skin needling, and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections.
- At The Victorian Cosmetic Institute, our goals are to minimise any discomfort from the procedures performed
- The level of anaesthetic/analgesic used will depend on the type of procedure performed
- We commonly use ice, local anaesthetic creams/injections, vibration, anaesthetic gas (nitrous oxide), and oral and intravenous anaesthetic/analgesics.
Why is anaesthesia/analgesia important for cosmetic procedures?
Appropriate anaesthesia/analgesia will also ensure that you have a positive experience from your visit, and increase the likelihood of having the procedure again if required.
What types of anaesthesia/analgesia are there?
Sedation – where there is partial consciousness, but no loss of airway control. Memory of the procedure may be hazy or non-existent. At The Victorian Cosmetic Institute, we may use oral medications or intravenous sedation or analgesics prior to treatments.
Local anaesthesia – which is injected into an area to cause a local area of numbness/anaesthesia. We commonly perform local anaesthetic nerve blocks which, if done properly, are not painful and can help to completely numb a certain area e.g the lips for lip enhancement.
Analgesia is the deadening or absence of a sense of pain without loss of consciousness. Analgesia can be in the form of oral analgesia such as paracetamol, or injectable forms of analagesia.
Many of the medications used for anaesthesia have some analgesic properties and vice versa.
What types of anaesthesia/analgesia are used for non-surgical procedures?
At The Victorian Cosmetic Institute, we use a computerised local anaesthetic delivery machine called ‘The Wand’. Designed for the dental industry, it is a cleverly engineered machine that delivers local anaesthetic extremely slowly to the area to be treated, then, any pain is significantly minimised if not avoided completely.
Combining local anaesthetic and dermal fillers – Local anaesthetic can be mixed with dermal fillers like Radiesse to help reduce the sting of the product being injected. The local anaesthetic literally numbs the area during the treatment. Other fillers, including filler type JU/JU+/V come with local anaesthetic agents already built in.
Oral and intravenous analgesics/sedatives – can be used for the more invasive cosmetic procedures such as liposuction, skin resurfacing, or skin needling. They are usually used in conjunction with other forms of analgesia/anaesthesia such as local anaesthetic injections or creams. Oral sedatives are usually taken one to two hours prior to a procedure to help reduce the anxiety and discomfort associated with procedures. Intravenous sedatives/analgesics are usually given just prior to the procedure, and have a very quick onset. However, given their effect, it is not possible to drive for 24 hours after having these medications. We also advise that you fast for 6 hours prior to any intravenous sedation.
Case study 1
A 35 year old with a needle phobia presents to The Victorian Cosmetic Institute for anti-wrinkle injections. She has not had these injections before, and although concerned about her frown lines and crows feet, she is needle phobic and very worried about the procedure. To allay her fears and to help improve the comfort of the procedure, the doctor administers a light form of anaesthetic gas (nitrous oxide) the duration of which lasts about 5 minutes – just enough to perform the procedure. During this time, the patient feels relaxed and distracted from the procedure being performed.
Case study 2
A 45 year old male presents to The Victorian Cosmetic Institute for laser skin resurfacing. This is a more in-depth procedure, and usually requires several modes of anaesthesia/analgesia to be used. Firstly, the patient arrives 1 hours prior the procedure to have numbing cream applied to his face. Just prior to the procedure, a light intravenous sedative and analgesic are used which makes him drowsy and go into a semi-conscious state. He is able to talk and respond if necessary, but his memory of the procedure is vague. The face is then injected with local anaesthesia to further numb the face prior to treatment with the laser which he doesn’t feel at all as a result of the above.