Undergoing a cosmetic treatment typically requires an out-patient visit to a clinic for treatments that can take as little as 30 minutes or less – but for some patients, those 30 minutes can be a source of anxiety. For some patients who are seeking minimally invasive treatments, confronting the discomfort of the treatment may be difficult. When that’s the case, at Zormeier Cosmetic Surgery & Longevity Center in Noblesville, IN, Shelbyville, IN, Danville, IL, Healdsburg, CA, and Ukiah, CA, we are happy to offer our patients a self-soothing tool, Pronox, which is available upon request.
What Is Pronox?
Pronox is a self-administered combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen that is used to relieve pain, stress, and anxiety during cosmetic treatments. This is an alternative pain and anxiety reliever for local anesthesia or other mild sedatives that are administered during some cosmetic treatments; this reliever can also be used in conjunction with local anesthesia.
Because this reliever is self-administered by the patient, it puts the patient in power and in total control of their level of awareness and comfort.
How Does Pronox Work?
The formula for this reliever is an even combination of 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen. You might be familiar with nitrous oxide as the gas that is given before some dental procedures, such as the pulling of a tooth or the filling of cavities. Nitrous oxide can also be used to calm nerves and soothe anxiety during other treatments, including non-invasive and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures.
The key to how this reliever works is all in the science. Nitrous oxide itself triggers the body’s pain management system, specifically the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine that control the perception of pain in the body. When combined with oxygen and inhaled, nitrous oxide can dull pain receptors to help blunt the feeling of stress, anxiety, and pain for as long as your body is exposed to the gas.
How Do You Use This Treatment?
This treatment is used similarly to how it might be used at a dentist’s office. The reliever is inhaled through the mouth and begins to work immediately. The difference between this particular reliever and the one used in dental settings is the fact that the patient is in charge of how much nitrous oxide they are using.
This reliever uses a special patient-controlled device that allows patients to adjust the level of nitrous oxide and oxygen they are using. The device has a disposable mouthpiece that the patient uses to inhale the nitrous oxide. The absolute levels of nitrous oxide provided by the device are monitored by a certified technician.
The initial use of this reliever refers to the first dose that is inhaled. The first dose is typically administered a few minutes before the cosmetic treatment starts. Both the initial doses and the follow-up doses are not continuous, which means after the initial dose, the device is temporarily pulled away until it is needed again.
Each does of nitrous oxide and oxygen only lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time, which means some patients require multiple doses throughout a cosmetic treatment. When a patient feels the return of sensation or anxiety, they are able to request another dose or as many doses as they need to finish the cosmetic treatment.
When Can You Use This Treatment?
You can use this reliever treatment during virtually any cosmetic treatment that might cause any slight discomfort or anxiety. This treatment can be used in tandem with other comfort medications, such as topical numbing creams, lidocaine, and local anesthesia. Some times you may want to use this treatment include:
Injectable treatments involve the use of a thin needle to inject units of dermal fillers or neurotoxins into the skin surface. Some dermal fillers and neurotoxins already come pre-loaded with lidocaine to manage discomfort associated with the treatment, however, this might not be adequate for some patients. This is especially true for patients who are not fond of needles.
Light chemical peels, in general, do not hurt or cause significant pain sensation in the face. However, medium-strength chemical peels may cause minor discomfort while the acid is stripping away the dead skin cells on the skin surface. Additionally, depending on the sensitivity of the patient’s skin and their sensitivity to pain, even light chemical peels can be mildly uncomfortable.
Laser resurfacing – and other energy-based treatments for that matter – involve the use of advanced light and energy technology that may cause minor discomfort to the skin surface. Some laser resurfacing treatments necessitate the use of cooling gels to ensure patient comfort during the treatment, and for those resurfacing treatments, this reliever may be an ideal choice.
Microneedling involves using dozens of tiny needles to create micro-injuries on the surface of the skin, which is akin to being pricked by dozens of needles at a time. Understandably, microneedling can be a treatment that is a source of anxiety and moderate discomfort, even when topical numbing creams are used. This is particularly true for microneedling treatments that are combined with radiofrequency treatments.
What Are the Benefits of Pronox?
There are many benefits to this treatment beyond the fact that the reliever is familiar to many patients. The familiarity of nitrous oxide from dental offices means that it’s very easy to trust in the safety of the reliever and its use, which is especially important for patients who experience anxiety. Other benefits of this treatment include:
This is a self-administered treatment, which means that patients can determine how much nitrous oxide is being used. This may be preferable to patients who have lower pain thresholds or greater amounts of anxiety. Self-administering pain and anxiety might be better because it allows the patient to determine the exact amount required to feel comfortable.
This treatment has a quick onset that allows it to work in a matter of minutes. Almost immediately after inhaling the nitrous oxide and oxygen combination, patients can feel a sense of relief from anxiety and a dulling of pain-related sensations. For many patients, the quick onset is associated with a floaty or lightweight feeling.
This reliever has a short duration that makes it preferable to other relievers, especially anesthesias or injected analgesics that can last for hours after a cosmetic treatment is complete. The average duration of a single nitrous oxide dose is about 5 to 10 minutes. This means that the dose leaves the body very quickly and does not linger in the system, meaning patients are able to safely drive themselves home after treatment.
1. Is This Treatment Safe?
Yes. This treatment is just as safe as using nitrous oxide provided at dental offices, provided the patient is qualified to safely use the treatment. This reliever is not addictive and it does not sedate the patient, meaning the patient is fully aware and awake at all times during the treatment.
2. Are There Any Restrictions?
Almost all adult patients are capable of using this reliever during cosmetic treatments. The one restriction is for pregnant women who should not be exposed to nitrous oxide and may have to use other relievers during cosmetic treatments.
3. Can You Use This for All Cosmetic Treatments?
Yes. This treatment can be used for any cosmetic treatment that may cause patients pain or anxiety. This includes injectable treatments, energy-based treatments, facials, and other rejuvenating treatments that may be minimally invasive. Virtually all cosmetic treatments are compatible with the use of this reliever.
4. Why Do Some Cosmetic Treatments Require Sedation?
There are some minimally invasive cosmetic treatments that may require a certain amount of sedation. For example, such as thread lifts that are completed in the office. Sedation is generally only required for treatments that will involve some amount of invasive technique, including vein treatments and injectable treatments used on sensitive areas of the body.
5. Does Laughing Gas Really Make You Laugh?
Not quite. Although nitrous oxide is often referred to as laughing gas, it’s not necessarily because the gas makes you giggle. Generally speaking, most patients who use nitrous oxide have a brief euphoric feeling like happiness or giddiness that makes them feel relaxed.
6. What Are Some Reasons to Use Pronox?
This reliever is commonly used to calm patients during cosmetic treatments, but it’s generally an optional treatment that patients can choose not to use. So, what are some of the reasons why a patient might opt to use this treatment? There are three main reasons:
Phobias and Anxiety
Patients who are afraid of needles or experience anxiety in medical or clinical settings may choose to use this reliever to remain calm and relaxed during treatment. This reliever is particularly useful for those who are anxious about first-time treatments.
Some patients are not eligible for the use of certain sedatives, such as general anesthesia. For patients who are allergic to anesthetics or who have medical conditions that do not allow them to use general anesthesia, this reliever can be an adequate substitution that allows the patient to undergo desired treatments without complications.
Fewer Side Effects
Unlike general anesthesia, nitrous oxide has very few side effects thanks in large part to how quickly the effects of the gas fade. Many people who use general anesthesia experience side effects such as grogginess, confusion, vertigo, and nausea, which is unappealing.
Nitrous oxide is also more affordable than other pain-relieving treatments, especially surgical-strength sedatives such as general anesthesia. This is an important factor to consider since the use of general anesthesia during minimally invasive cosmetic procedures may not be appropriate and may be too expensive for the patient.
7. Will You Need a Consultation?
Before any cosmetic treatment, you will have to attend a consultation appointment; however, you will not require a formal consultation solely for the use of this reliever. Instead, during your cosmetic consultation, we will go over the options you have for treatment, including your comfort-related options such as using topical numbing creams and local anesthesia. We can answer all additional questions about using nitrous oxide at this time.
8. Will You Need to Prepare for Nitrous Oxide Use?
No. Most people have no need to do any extensive preparation before using nitrous oxide, such as fasting the night before, which is common for general anesthesia. At most, we will recommend patients avoid eating any large meals about 2 to 3 hours before your cosmetic treatment. Otherwise, there is nothing else to prepare for.
9. Are You a Good Candidate?
If you are deemed eligible for your cosmetic treatment, you are likely also eligible for the use of nitrous oxide. Good candidates include patients over the age of 18 who are not currently pregnant and who do not have any allergies to nitrous oxide.
Pronox Gives Patients Power
Undergoing cosmetic treatments are sometimes cause for anxiety for some patients. Pronox gives patients the power to determine their own anxiety and pain relief for the duration of virtually all cosmetic treatments. Ask about using this anxiety reliever for your next cosmetic treatment.