Q: Dr. Eppley, I am currently looking to have a rhinoplasty later this year. I had a discussion with an anesthesiologist about my needle phobia who advised I speak to the anesthesiologist who will be taking care of me during the procedure. As much as I want to say I don’t have a problem with my needle phobia I do. The last time I had my blood drawn I panicked and passed out. Obviously I don’t want any of that to happen which would make my surgeon’s job harder. He suggested maybe a prescription of Valium before the procedure or something of that nature. I will let you give me your professional advise on this matter. Looking forward to hearing from you.
A: Needle phobia issues are not uncommon in surgery. Known as trypanophobia, it is estimated that about 10% of people have it. While having to get a needle sick is unavoidable since an IV will be needed for your rhinoplasty surgery, there are numerous ways to get past this fear. Your apprehension can be remedied by taking 10mgs of Valium and 25 mgs of Phenergan orally orally one hour before arriving for your surgery. (as there will be someone driving you to and from surgery) Your surgeon can write that prescription for you. Make sure that you have signed your operative consents and had all your questions answered days before the surgery as consent can not be obtained from a mildly sedated patient.
The other management issue that can be done is to apply a topical numbing cream prior to actually putting in the needle. This will minimize needle insertion discomfort.
Dr. Barry Eppley