Rolling Meadows, Ill., April 12, 2017 – The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), the largest specialty organization representing dermatologic surgeons, agrees that general anesthesia may not always be necessary during surgery, as reported recently in The New York Times.
“This news is no surprise to our members, who have pioneered the use of local anesthesia during surgery for over 30 years,” said Thomas E. Rohrer, MD, President of ASDS. “ASDS members perform minimally invasive procedures every day utilizing local anesthesia, delivering safe and effective results.”
Since the early 80’s, ASDS members have been utilizing local anesthesia with outstanding results. In 1985, ASDS member Jeffrey Klein, MD, was the pioneer of the tumescent technique for liposuction. The tumescent method infuses local anesthesia into subcutaneous fat, thereby eliminating the need for general anesthesia or sedatives. The American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery featured the technique as the safest form of liposuction surgery with minimal recovery time with excellent cosmetic results. In addition to treatments improving the appearance of skin, such as sun damage, facial redness, melasma and vitiligo, ASDS members perform a variety skin cancer treatments including Mohs surgery, cryosurgery and laser surgery. All of these procedures are performed on awake patients using local anesthesia, offering a better experience and quicker recovery time.
In the interest of enhancing patient safety and comfort, local anesthesia should be used whenever possible. Typical options include topicals, infiltrative, nerve blocks and intra-procedural anesthesia, which is mixed with fillers and injected simultaneously. These types of anesthetics can be less painful, allow faster onset and offer less side effects like muscle weakness. Most importantly, the risk of complications or adverse reactions is significantly lower when the patient remains awake. In fact, a three-year study presented in the Dermatologic Surgery journal in December 2004, indicates the greatest danger to patients is in the use of general anesthesia. It found that seven of the 13 procedure-related deaths occurred during an elective cosmetic surgery on fully sedated patients, which prompts the conclusion that local anesthesia is strongly encouraged.
The proven safety of local anesthesia has supported the growth and success of minimally invasive medical and cosmetic procedures. In the 2016 ASDS Procedures Survey, it was revealed that dermatologic surgeons performed over 10.5 million medically necessary and cosmetic procedures in 2016 — a 5 percent increase from 2015 and up 31 percent since 2012. Procedures performed include skin cancer treatments, soft-tissue fillers, wrinkle-relaxers and a variety of body sculpting procedures – almost all under local or topical numbing agents. The growing number of non-invasive treatment options offer consumers more choice with less downtime, less pain and excellent results for their health and the beauty of their skin.
“ASDS members continue to play an integral role in positively affecting the treatment of skin cancer and cosmetic patients,” said Dr. Rohrer. “The use of local anesthesia is one of many advancements that has moved the specialty forward.”
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About American Society for Dermatologic Surgery
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) is the largest specialty organization exclusively representing dermatologic surgeons who have unique training and experience to treat the health, function and beauty of your skin. ASDS members are pioneers in the field. Many are involved in the clinical studies that bring popular treatments to revitalize skin and fill and diminish wrinkles to the forefront. Their work has helped create and enhance many of the devices that remove blemishes, hair and fat, and tighten skin. Dermatologic surgeons also are experts in skin cancer prevention, detection and treatment. As the incidence of skin cancer rises, dermatologic surgeons are committed to taking steps to minimize the life-threatening effects of this disease. For more information, visit asds.net.