Awake Tummy Tuck? Scary…

Should you consider having your tummy tuck awake? According to an article by The Plastic Surgery Channel a physician in San Antonio, TX is advertising an awake tummy tuck. No general anesthesia is used, just a light sedation and local anesthetics. In fact, you can make conversation with the doctor while she’s cutting open your abdomen! The article mentions that she’s not a real plastic surgeon, but trained in Family and Emergency Medicine. Scary!

I perform an average of one tummy tuck a week, and I wouldn’t wish an awake tummy tuck on my worst enemy. While local anesthetics can work for smaller procedures, to perform a complete tummy tuck under local anesthetics is crazy. General anesthesia is meant to save people from experiencing the excruciating pain of having your body cut open.

Thanks for reading.
Michigan-based Plastic Surgeon
Anthony Youn, M.D.

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Posted in: Plastic Surgery News


  1. I need a tummy tuck, and I wouldn't dream of doing it awake. Sick!

    Comment by HollowSquirrel on February 24, 2010 at 10:12 pm

  2. Ouch, ouch! I am with you all the way on this one. The mere thought of it is painful. A caesarian is way less cutting, so that's OK, but TTs involve extensive work.

    Comment by Rosina at Middle Ageless on February 25, 2010 at 7:28 am

  3. Based on my experience with 5 major foot surgeries, I will never go under general anesthesia IF POSSIBLE. I've had all levels of general anesthesia and requested on the last one to be awake (no sedation of any kind). The surgery required two incision points and lasted an hour. The only med in my body was Lidocaine injected into multiple nerves in my foot and ankle.

    The experience of BEING there for my healing was great.

    But the anesthesiologist was completely freaked out about my request to be awake and spent 20 minutes trying to convince me I'd be in excruciating pain "similar to childbirth". After the surgery, he stood at the foot of my bed repeating numbly "I can't believe you did that and didn't feel any pain." I truly felt sorry for him because I probably destroyed a few of myths he'd been taught in grad school.

    In addition to being "present", I was ready to go home 2 minutes after the surgery finished. I didn't puke my guts out of the car window on the way home, or feel crappy for the next 24 hours. As a result, my opinion of this surgeon and my experience over all was much better than the previous 4 surgeries.

    I do understand the medical community is filled with many myths about pain and only want to help, so I don't fault the docs who do over medicate.

    But, is a tummy tuck more or less invasive than a C-section? If women can be awake for C-sections, why couldn't they be awake for other abdominal surgeries?

    Comment by Awake-n-Happy on February 25, 2010 at 11:20 am

  4. C-Sections are typically not performed under local anesthesia, but with a spinal. This creates great anesthesia in the lower body. Unfortunately, this wouldn't work with a tummy tuck since the surgery extends too high in the abdomen. A spinal anesthetic that high could compromise the patient's breathing.

    Comment by Dr. Tony Youn on February 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm

  5. I hope my wife not…

    Comment by tattooo on February 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

  6. She's probably just hoping for the patients who have put off surgery because of their fear of general.

    Comment by Anonymous on March 2, 2010 at 10:09 am

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