Local Anaesthetic

To ensure the minimum amount of discomfort during your procedure, your surgeon may administer local anaesthetic

Local anaesthesia stops you feeling pain without putting you to sleep. It blocks the way nerves carry pain signals to your brain. Depending on the drug used, the numbing effect can last from about two to eight hours.

Pre and Post-treatment Advice

  • As this is an outpatient procedure, items such as a dressing gown are not needed.
  • For post-operative discomfort as the local anaesthesia wears off, patients may take Panadol or Solpadine.
  • Ladies are requested not to wear make-up if facial surgery is being carried out.

Most local and regional anaesthetic techniques involve using a syringe and needle to inject drugs in the correct place. Unfortunately, this can often be uncomfortable, and the local anaesthetic may sting during injection. Most patients consider this discomfort a small price to pay for pain relief during and after surgery.

Depending on the type used, local anaesthetic drugs can be:

  • injected into the area
  • sprayed directly on to the area
  • rubbed on to the area

The treated area will very quickly start to lose feeling. Your operation will not begin until your doctor is absolutely sure that the area is numb. It is important to realise that local anaesthesia takes away feelings of pain, but you may still feel pressure and movement during your operation.

As local anaesthetic only numbs the area to be operated on, you will be fully awake during the procedure. A benefit of surgery with local anaesthetic is that patients may be immediately discharged on completion of treatment.

After a Local Anaesthetic

You will be able to go home shortly after the procedure. Take care not to injure the area which has been numbed, as you may not be able to feel the damage.

Deciding To Have Local Anaesthesia

Local anaesthesia is commonly administered and is generally safe. In many cases there are clear advantages over general anaesthesia, such as speed of recovery and lower risk of complications. However, in order to make an informed decision and give your consent, you need to be aware of the possible side-effects and the risk of complications.

Common Side Effects

While most people are not affected by local anaesthetic, complications do occur in a small percentage of patients during or after the procedure. Side effects include temporary drops in blood pressure, causing weakness or fainting. You may experience temporary loss of muscle control in the treated area. Sometimes the skin over the numb area may temporarily turn very pale. Nausea, headache or dizziness may also occur for a short while.

As with any procedure involving anaesthesia, there is a very small risk of an unexpected reaction. Side effects are unwanted but mostly temporary effects of successful treatment.