Background: The importance of anesthetic technique is often underappreciated in face-lift procedures and is sparsely written about in the literature. Appropriate control of blood pressure, anxiety, pain, and nausea is essential for reducing the complications of face lift, primarily, hematoma risk. This study discusses the standard anesthetic protocol provided at the authors' institution and describes the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative management of face-lift patients resulting in low hematoma and complication rates. Methods: One thousand eighty-nine patients who underwent face-lift procedures performed by a single surgeon (R.J.R) were included in a retrospective chart review following institutional review board approval. Patient demographics, operative data including additional ancillary procedures, and the anesthesia regimen were recorded. In addition, postoperative complications and reoperation rates were documented. Results: Between 1990 and 2013, 1089 face-lift procedures were performed. Of these, 10 patients developed postoperative hematomas. Benzodiazepines were commonly administered preoperatively to reduce anxiety level. Intraoperatively, a specific regimen and combination of inhalation agents, neuromuscular blockers, antiemetics, antihypertensives, and narcotics was given to control the ease of induction and emergence from anesthesia. Postoperatively, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, pain, and hypertension were treated as needed. Conclusions: The described protocol is safe and has been instituted at the authors' facility for approximately 20 years. The benefit of this regimen is related to the synergy of combination therapy. It is successful in reducing patient anxiety and pain, controlling blood pressure and postoperative emesis, and subsequently results in a reduced risk of hematoma.
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