Understanding Your Anesthesia Options at LJC

We offer an array of anesthesia options depending on the procedure or treatments you are considering. We want to provide you information both for cosmetic surgical procedures and non-surgical treatments. We tailor our recommendations to your surgery or treatment. You can have input and help to make the final choices in consultation with your doctor and with an anesthesiologist, if applicable.

Since our inception in 1988, LJC has been committed to the highest levels of anesthesia services. Long before there were state and federal mandates, we made the decision to only use board-certified anesthesiologists. This means that our anesthesiologists are fully trained physicians board certified in the field of Anesthesiology by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

Some surgeons and surgery centers use Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CNRAs)—registered nurses who have completed specialized training in anesthesia. CNRAs are certainly competent and well trained. However, we feel that our patients are safer if we only use board-certified anesthesiologists in our practice, and we have done so for over 31 years.

Anesthesia Today

If you’re like many patients considering cosmetic surgery, you may have more potential fears about anesthesia risks than the actual surgery.

Anesthesia has grown safer and safer over the years. Indeed, anesthesia is 50 times safer than it was in the 1970s. Today, the risk of serious injury from anesthesia is about equivalent to the risks of serious injury while taking a drive in your car (thus the risks are statistically low).

Three main factors have contributed to improved overall anesthesia safety:

  1. The level of training of anesthesiologists
  2. Advances in monitoring equipment
  3. Much improved anesthesia drugs

Our Anesthesiologists

Our anesthesiology team at the La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre has been in place for approximately 15 years. All are board-certified anesthesiologists and several have multiple boards including internal medicine, pulmonology, intensive care, and cardiology. Additionally, they all routinely provide anesthesia at a major hospital in San Diego County. This ensures that they are prepared to deal with patients who might have other medical factors that need specialized assessment. Dr. Stuart Young heads our team of anesthesiologists, and our feeling is that there is not a better team anywhere in the country.

Our board-certified anesthesiologists are members of Anesthesia Service Medical Group, Inc. (ASMG), a highly recognized group of anesthesiologists in San Diego County founded in 1946. To learn more about this group of skilled professionals, you can visit their website at Our anesthesiologists are also members of other prestigious medical organizations such as The American Board of Anesthesiology, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the California Medical Association, and the California Society of Anesthesiologists. You might like to visit the website of the American Society of Anesthesiologists at, as it contains some very helpful patient information on anesthesia.

Anesthesia and Cosmetic Surgery

For almost all cosmetic surgery procedures performed by the board-certified plastic surgeons at LJC, one of our board-certified anesthesiologists will be with you. The two most common types of anesthesia in cosmetic surgery are either monitored sedation (MAC) or general anesthesia.

Monitored sedation (MAC)

For many surgeries, monitored sedation is an ideal anesthetic choice. Advantages of this method are that you are not “completely out,” and recovery is very smooth and almost never accompanied by nausea. Procedures that are ideal for this method include nasal surgery, eyelid surgery, and small areas of liposuction.

If you choose monitored sedation, your anesthesiologist administers sedation intravenously and injects local anesthesia while you are temporarily so drowsy that you will not remember any pain. During the remainder of the operation, your anesthesiologist keeps you sleepy or tranquil so that you do not have any anxiety or restlessness. During the operation, your anesthesiologist monitors your vital signs, just as they would during general anesthesia.

General anesthesia

General anesthesia is utilized for more involved operations such as facelifts, tummy tucks, breast procedures, and standard liposuction. While some people fear general anesthesia, it should be reassuring to know that general anesthesia is 50 times safer today than it was 30 to 40 years ago. A major reason for this positive change is that the monitoring systems used during anesthesia have become exquisitely sensitive. Another major advancement is that post operative nausea and vomiting have been dramatically reduced with the use of new medications and treatment protocols.

The day of your surgery, you meet and talk personally with your anesthesiologist who will be taking care of you in the operating room. Before meeting you, your anesthesiologists reviews your chart thoroughly including your health history and the procedure(s) your surgeon will be performing. Your anesthesiologist will be glad to answer any questions you have about the anesthesia you will be receiving during your surgery.

Each person with you in the operating room has a role. The role of the anesthesiologist is multi-fold. They will not only deliver your anesthesia but will also provide continuing medical assessment of your condition by monitoring vital life functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. They will control your level of unconsciousness and will be there as you awaken in the OR. Their role in your surgical experience is a very important one. That is why we are so committed to high levels of competency in the area of anesthesia.

Anesthesia and Other Treatments and Procedures

Generally, most non-surgical procedures and treatments can be performed easily without anesthesia.