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Why all the interest in nitrous oxide?

Interest in Nitrous oxide has seen a dramatic increase in the last 10 years.

Nitrous oxide has been in use for 70+ years primarily in dentistry, anesthesia, and labor & delivery. Over the last decade there has been a re-awakening of interest in nitrous in hospitals and medical offices ( urology, GYN, and Aesthetic offices (plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery, dermatology, Med Spas)).

This re-awakening is driven by several factors.

  1. The realization of how ideal nitrous is for minimally invasive procedures, its high level of safety, it’s low cost, and ease of administration (can be self administered by the patients S.A.N.O.).
  2. The increase in minimally invasive procedures that lend themselves to being done in an office setting.
  3. The trend of Insurance companies to reimburse a physician less if a procedure is done in an operation room than if done in the doctor’s office.
  4. The familiarity and comfort of patients with office staff and the preference those patients have for not going to a hospital or surgery center.
  5. The increased cost and inconvenience to the patient for a procedure done in a hospital or surgery center (pre-admission labs and tests, insurance deductibles, anesthesia costs, pathology costs, facility costs, etc.).

As a rule in anesthesia less is better. If a procedure can be done with sedation rather than general Anesthesia then that is preferred. It is less invasive and often safer.

Nitrous administration for minimal sedation now is widely being used in many pediatric hospitals nationwide in ED, radiology, oncology and various other sedation clinics.

In Urology offices it is used for anything from cystoscopies, prostate biopsies, and vasectomies, to Urolift, Rezum, and SpaceOar procedures.

In Gyn offices it is used for LEEP procedure, IUD placements, uterine ablations, as well as uterine biopsies and sometimes just routine examinations.

In Aesthetic, Dermatology, MedSpa and Plastic Surgery offices it is used for a wide range of procedures. Plasma or laser treatments to the face, neck, or elsewhere, micro needle procedures, tattoo removal, hair removal, liposuction, and many other aesthetic procedures.

We are still in the very early stages of this new, sudden growth of nitrous use for minimally-invasive medical procedures particularly those performed in office settings. This dramatic increase in the use of nitrous sedation is an inescapable trend… one that must be done in a responsible and staff-safe way, scavenging of waste nitrous gas is essential, if this trend is to continue and flourish.

Ramsey Nashed, MD
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