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Want To Stay Awake During Surgery? It's Becoming A Lot More Common

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The notion of surgery can be unnerving for most of us, so would you choose to be awake for your procedure?

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reported, it's an increasingly popular trend for patients to see and hear the sights and sounds in their operating room during wide awake surgery.

Linda Gelman was in the operating room at NYU Langone for surgery on her hand.

It's a routine operation with a distinctly different element.

"It sounds safer, and it sounds like I was able to have coffee in the morning, and I can go home myself," she said.

Those are just a few of the benefits for patients who choose to forgo general anesthesia or sedation for certain surgeries. Dr. Steven Yang is an orthopedic surgeon who regularly practices wide awake surgery.

"Patients are often asked to get blood tests, have an EKG, a chest x-ray, so in our cases where we do those procedures wide awake patients don't need to do that. There's no pre-op testing," Dr. Yang said.

Post-op side effects such as nausea, dizziness, or brain fog from anesthesia are also eliminated. Wide awake surgery also brings a different atmosphere to the operating room.

"I don't want to distract him that's for sure. I think I'll let him do his thing and hope I don't hear 'oops," Gelman said.

Ron Blasie, 68, opted to stay awake for his hand surgery.

"After the procedure, I walked back to the train station and I was fine. No wobbly, no dizziness," he said.

Still, it might not be an option for all patients.

"In particular patients who are squeamish, patients who are particularly nervous about hearing and knowing about what is being done to them surgically," Dr. Yang explained.

It clearly worked for Linda.

"This has been, not even half an hour. This is pretty easy and fast. To get knocked out for all that time doesn't make sense to me," she said.

Right now, wide awake surgery is performed primarily on hand procedures like carpel tunnel or trigger finger release. Dr. Yang said they hope to expand to larger surgeries as they get more experience.

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