Plastic Surgeons Are Using Ketamine to Make Nose Jobs More Pleasant

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, January 21, 2022

"Ketamine is an old medication that was established in the fifties, but it's had a resurgence recently," says Dan B. Ellis M.D., assistant professor of anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital. That renaissance is partially owed to new studies showing the dissociative drug’s positive effects on mental health: The FDA recently approved its use in prescription nasal spray to treat severe depression, ketamine clinics that provide infusions and lozenge-style doses for some cases of treatment-resistant mental illness like depression and PTSD are popping up all over the U.S., and studies are now suggesting it can even lead to less opioid dependence in post-op patients (more on that later). Most commonly, it's administered before or during certain surgeries to help patients' minds disassociate from the body and its pain for a more tranquil experience, as part of your typical multi-sedative anesthesia cocktail. And in recent years, it's shown to be particularly helpful both during and in recovery from cosmetic procedures. 

One recent study shows that ketamine is highly effective in reducing agitation post-rhinoplasty, and Dr. Ellis used the humble nose job as an example of its beauty-adjacent benefits: "When we wake patients up after rhinoplasty with their nose in a cast, nobody likes that feeling," he says, pointing out that patients may try to remove their bandages or accidentally knock equipment off-kilter as they 'reanimate' or wake up from sedation. "You have to find ways to calm them down — either verbally or chemically — and bring them into a state of awareness, and ketamine might be useful for that [in the right] dosage." It can also potentially make breathing less strained during face-centralized surgery. 

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