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Ask a Pro: Do Awake Surgeries Actually Reduce Pain?



Pain is one of the biggest concerns for anyone considering cosmetic surgery. The idea of going under the knife is often associated with a great deal of anxiety and apprehension. Fortunately, with the advancement of technology, the need for general anesthesia has become less of a necessity. 

1 or 2 in every 1,000 surgery patients do unwillingly wake during a surgery, resulting in a traumatic experience that can linger long after the surgery is complete. However, it’s important to note that “awake surgery” is different. It is a relatively new procedure that allows patients to be conscious during their operation, reducing the risk of complications and making the experience much less intimidating.

Awake surgery is generally used to address brain conditions such as epileptic seizures and Parkinson’s disease. However, with advancements in medical technology, it is becoming increasingly common for this procedure to be used for cosmetic surgery.

Does the method really reduce pain?

Yes, awake cosmetic surgery is meant to reduce pain. This is due to the use of special anesthetics, such as local anesthesia and topical anesthetics, which are applied to the area of the body being operated on. 

Local anesthesia numbs the area, meaning that the patient will not feel any pain during the procedure. Topical anesthetics are applied directly to the skin and work by blocking pain signals from the nerves.

Dr. David Shokrian, who has performed more awake surgeries than anyone else in New York, advises patients to consider this innovative technique when planning for their cosmetic procedures. Awake surgery is a minimally invasive surgical method that avoids the use of general anesthesia, thus reducing the risks associated with it. Instead, local anesthesia and sedatives are used to numb the area to be treated and keep the patient relaxed and comfortable throughout the procedure. 

Benefits of awake surgeries

According to Dr. Shokrian, awake surgery offers several benefits apart from reduced pain, including faster recovery time and lower risk of complications.

  1. Quicker – One of the benefits of awake cosmetic surgery is that it is often quicker than traditional surgery. This is because the patient is conscious and able to provide feedback to the doctor throughout the process. This means that the surgeon can adjust the procedure as needed and make the necessary corrections without having to wait for the patient to wake up from anesthesia.
  2. Lower Risk – Awake cosmetic surgery, in general, is also typically less risky compared to traditional surgery. Since the patient is conscious and able to communicate with the doctor throughout the procedure, the risk of unexpected complications is greatly reduced. As a result, the recovery time is often much shorter and the risk of long-term complications is minimized.
  3. Outpatient Setting – This procedure can be done in an outpatient setting. This means that the patient does not have to stay in the hospital or undergo an overnight stay in a medical facility. This can be a huge benefit for those who are worried about being away from home for a lengthy period of time or having to take time off from work.

Dr. Shorkian recommends patients to choose a skilled and experienced surgeon who specializes in awake surgery to ensure the best results. Additionally, he suggests patients to follow post-operative care instructions carefully and attend follow-up appointments to monitor progress and ensure a smooth recovery process.

About Dr. Shorkian

Dr. David Shokrian is a well-renowned cosmetic surgeon who currently practices at Millennial Plastic 

Surgery (MPS) in New York. He was born in Iran and fled to New York following the Islamic 

Revolution. He attended SUNY Stony Brook and graduated with honors, receiving a full academic scholarship. He also graduated in the top 1% of his class at The Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. Dr. Shokrian is passionate about educating people on plastic surgery through social media platforms, where he shares broadcast procedures and surgery reactions to help and inform patients to keep them safe when considering cosmetic surgery.



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