Benefits, Risks of Awake Surgery

Some patients prefer to not go under, when under the knife

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An increasing number of surgeries are being conducted on patients who opt to remain awake during the procedure.

A recent study of data from approximately 400 hospitals between 2006 and 2010, showed that of the over 380,000 patients studied, around 14-percent stayed awake during surgery.

Not only is it cheaper than going under full sedation, it also is good for patients who may not recover as well from general anesthesia.

Dr. Ali Kasraeian said that some studies suggest that patients will feel more in control.

"This is an assessment of risk-benefits," Kasraeian said. "It's a continuation of a concept of minimizing risk and maximizing benefits. A lot of procedures can be done with local anesthesia or regional anesthesia. The goals are to minimize discomfort and have a safe operation."

The patient, however, must be aware that they could be exposed to some things that they aren't ready to experience in the operating theater. 

"What you are going to be observing is not for the faint of heart. Someone may not be able to withstand what they are watching," Kasraeian said.