Local Anaesthetic (LA) & Sedation

152 Harley Street is proud to be one of only a few day case surgery facilities in the UK that offers surgical procedures under Local Anaesthetic with Sedation. This means that our patients are able to leave shortly after their procedure, but still receive the same thorough and excellent aftercare that they would expect with a general anaesthetic.

Our team of talented, qualified surgeons and clinicians are all highly regarded in their field and have international reputations. We are specialists in cutting-edge procedures and treatments spanning Cosmetic, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Dermatology, including Mohs Micrographic Surgery, Dental & Oral Surgery, Craniofacial Surgery, Hair Transplant Surgery, Maxillofacial Surgery, Non-Surgical Aesthetic and Laser treatments, including the sought after UltraPulse Co2 Laser in London.

About Anaesthesia

The word ‘anaesthesia’ derives from the Greek word meaning ‘absence’ or ‘loss of sensation’

Anaesthesia is one of the most welcomed and significant developments in modern medicine today because it allows what were once unbearable medical procedures to be performed safely without any discomfort and pain.

Local Anaesthesia stops pain during a medical or surgical procedure by blocking pain signals from being carried by nerves to the brain. If you elect to have Local Anaesthesia, you will be fully conscious during your procedure. Local Anaesthesia can also be effectively combined with sedation to remove any awareness.

Local Anaesthesia works by completely blocking any feeling from the area being treated and you are fully awake during the procedure. Local Anaesthetic drugs tend to only be used for short, simple operations such as stitching a wound or removing a mole. Depending on the drug used, the numbing effect can last from approximately two to eight hours.

How are Local Anaesthetic Drugs administered?

  • sprayed directly onto the area
  • injected into the area
  • rubbed onto the area
  • injected around a specific nerve supplying the area (nerve block)

Once the Local Anaesthetic drug(s) have been administered, you will start to lose sensation very quickly in the treated area. Your procedure only starts once your clinician is absolutely sure that the area is numb and that you are comfortable. It’s important to realise that local anaesthesia takes away feelings of pain, but you may still feel movement and some pressure during your procedure, which is all completely normal.

About Sedation

Sedative drugs help you to relax and relieve anxiety without requiring you to be asleep during your procedure. As sedative drugs don’t block the pain signals to the brain, local or regional anaesthesia is often used in combination.

  • injected – using a fine plastic tube (cannula) into a vein on the back of your hand or in your arm
  • swallowed – in tablet or liquid form

The aim of sedation is to make you comfortable, completely relaxed and safe during your procedure. Administration of the sedation and local anaesthetic results in you becoming sleepy and drowsy, pain free and most likely amnesic, such that you will have very little recollection of the procedure.

Communication is possible if necessary during the operation because even though you are completely relaxed and unconcerned, you are not completely unconscious at any point during the procedure. The type and dose of sedative given depends on the procedure and how anxious you are about it. Sedatives can sometimes affect your breathing, however your vital signs, for example blood pressure, breathing and pulse rate are monitored throughout the procedure to ensure your safety and one of our highly trained anaesthetists will be with you throughout your entire procedure.

Even though you are not completely asleep whilst under sedation, you will be drowsy, relaxed and pain free throughout the entire procedure. The sedative drugs combined with analgesics and local anaesthesia ensures that you experience no pain. The drugs will also contribute towards a pain free period following your procedure.

Conscious sedation induces a deep state of relaxation. In over 90% of patients, the drugs used for conscious sedation produce either partial or complete memory loss (amnesia) for the period of time when the drug first kicks in until it wears off. As a result, time will appear to pass very quickly and consequently, patients who remember nothing at all, frequently report that they were fully “asleep” during their procedure.

Recovery after sedation is much quicker than with general anaesthesia. The same applies for the side effects that can sometimes be experienced, for example nausea and vomiting, headaches, muscle pains, sore throats, which occur far less than with general anaesthetic; in fact with sedation, very few patients experience any side effects at all, making it a hugely popular option for patients.

The recovery time depends on the drugs used, the patient’s individual response to the drugs and the time spent under sedation. The drugs and doses that are used for sedation have a rapid onset and offset and after the administration of the sedative drugs is stopped, recovery is swift and in most cases less than about 30 minutes, which is the time that you will need to remain at our clinic before being allowed to go home with your chaperone. Our specialist anaesthetist will carefully monitor you to ensure that you are fit for discharge. You may remain slightly drowsy for a few hours, but will be given specific written and verbal instructions on what to do by our expert clinical team.

Due to the sedative effects of the medication, you will need a responsible adult to accompany you home, preferably by car or taxi. You will be given full consultation regarding Local Anaesthetic and Sedation during your appointments with our expert medical team at 152 Harley Street, however if you have any further queries at this stage, please phone our friendly and knowledgeable team on 0207 467 3000 or simply complete a contact us form.


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