For some, nausea from anesthesia can be a big downside to elective cosmetic surgery. Dr. Richard Baxter, a board certified plastic surgeon in Seattle, knows full-well that nausea can plague a percentage of surgical candidates and has found a medication taken before anesthesia that solves the problem.
By Richard A. Baxter, MD
and Adam McMillon
Nausea for some
Many people undergo surgery involving anesthesia every day and not all of them experience nausea. For those that do, the toll it takes during recovery might make them rethink if they really want to opt in to a surgical procedure. “You get this whole cocktail of drugs that are required to render you unconscious and not sense the pain, even if it’s just an IV, ” says Dr. Baxter. “The body doesn’t necessarily like all of those things circulating through, and people react differently.”
While not often thought about, the science behind anesthesia has come a long way, much like every other medical specialty. Even with advancements, some people still have difficulty coming off of the medication, resulting in post-surgery nausea. “There are a lot of good options that are out there that the anesthesiologist can do, but there is also a medication that we’ve found that’s very effective if given before anesthesia,” says Baxter.
Amending Anesthesia with “Emend”
The pre-anesthesia medication used by Dr. Baxter is called Emend. Used to fight back nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the medication is also useful for nausea caused by anesthesia. “It works differently and prevents nausea,” says Baxter. “It’s not a rescue medication, it prevents symptoms from happening.”
The vast majority of medication the average person takes can be considered a “rescue medication”, meaning that it is being administered in order to “rescue” the body from something that is already happening. A cold, intestinal issues, an infection… such issues are already occurring inside the body and the medication you take to fix the problem is taking you from sick to not sick. With a non-rescue medication, such as Emend, the drug works before the symptoms arise, meaning Emend is blocking anesthesia from causing nausea before it happens.
Patients Susceptible to Nausea Can Relax; The Medication Works!
Dr. Baxter has found that offering Emend to worried patients has almost entirely solved the issue: “We’ve essentially had a 100% success with it.”
If you’re worried about feeling nauseous and reacting negatively to anesthesia, air those concerns with your board certified surgeon. Help with this issue has been found; all patients need to do is ask. “If we have that history with a patient and they’re concerned, then we can offer this too them and they can take it before surgery,” says Baxter.
“They’ll have a much smoother experience coming out of it. They’ll have the reassurance that it’s going to be a different experience.”