What’s the difference between general anaesthesia and LA & sedation?


The most commonly documented preoperative fear is of anaesthesia. All cosmetic surgery at Hiroshi’s private practice is either carried out under local anaesthetic or a combination of local anaesthetic with sedation. This means that the recovery from anaesthesia is rapid, meaning procedures that previously required a hospital stay overnight, can be carried out as a day case.

The main differences between sedation and general anaesthesia are:

  • Your level of consciousness
  • The need for equipment to help support your breathing
  • Possible side effects. With minimal and moderate sedation you feel drowsy, comfortable, sleepy and relaxed, but you remain conscious throughout the procedure. With general anaesthesia you are completely unresponsive and unconscious during the procedure. Deep sedation is in-between the two

Patients usually prefer not to remember anything about their procedure, but for those who do want some recall, the sedation can be adjusted so that they are fully awake, but remain pain free. The major difference with general anaesthesia is that with local anaesthetic and sedation, patients breathe on their own and do not require intubation (a breathing tube placed in the airway to keep the lungs inflating). With local anaesthetic and sedation, there is a diminished incidence of nausea and vomiting, and recovery is more rapid. This in turn diminishes complications associated with slow postoperative recovery, such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus.

How is intravenous sedation administered?

Sedation is administered through a drip (cannula), which is put into a vein in your arm or the back of your hand. Additional sedation can be given as you need it during the procedure. In deep sedation you will usually have a drug given continuously into your vein and you will usually have oxygen to breathe from a plastic tube sitting just inside your nose, or through a face mask.

Hiroshi is proud to have pioneered and developed innovative local anaesthetic and sedation techniques, that have allowed selected surgical patients to be treated as day cases and at The Westbourne Centre in Edgbaston, Hiroshi works alongside some of Birmingham’s most distinguished consultant anaesthetists and clinical nurse specialists.