In its quest to remain Australia’s #1 resource for cosmetic surgery and enhancement information, Team Costhetics often logs on to plastic surgery forums. Our goal is to get a bead on hot topics.

One subject that pops up often is dealing with what doctors refer to as “post-operative discomfort” and patients call “post-operative pain.”

This article offers some practical answers.

Recovering from Surgery

When artist Renoir said, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains,” you would think he was talking about cosmetic surgery. Surgery is traumatic, and it is to be expected that patients will experience anything from mild discomfort to moderate pain.

For example, some facial cosmetic surgeries require nothing more than over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate post-op pain. Pain from other invasive procedures such as liposuction or a thigh lift may best be managed with prescription medication. In every case, a patient’s unique pain threshold will dictate what his/her doctor recommends or prescribes.

How to Reduce Post-Op Pain

Many cosmetic surgery patients accept the idea of “no pain, no gain” when it comes to an invasive procedure because the results are so pleasing. However, that attitude can often stand in the way of getting needed help after surgery. Before we offer our suggestions for reducing post-op pain, the team at Costhetics wants to make sure you understand a key point: if pain increases or persists, call your surgeon immediately.

You should never feel hesitant or embarrassed to call your provider with a question about pain. Some pain may indicate that a complication has arisen, while other pain is merely of the to-be-expected variety. Your doctor can put your mind at ease.

Okay. You’ve had your procedure. You’re healing at home. You’d like to do everything you can to speed along your recovery. The first rule of dealing with post-operative pain is

  • Don’t be scared; be prepared – Pain can be scary, especially when you’ve had surgery on one part of the body and feel discomfort in a completely different area. Your back may be sore following breast surgery, for example. Ask your doctor what to expect after surgery before your procedure.
  • Don’t be ashamed – You don’t have to grin and bear it when it comes to pain. If you are following instructions and feel the need for pain medication, ask for it.
  • Do as you’ve been told – Your doctor will review and likely give you a printed sheet of post-op instructions. Read them carefully and follow them to a ‘T.’ In some cases exercise must be postponed so that healing muscles and incisions aren’t stressed.
  • Make yourself comfy – Before you head off to your procedure, set up a “nest” to welcome you home. A carefully placed pile of pillows can work wonders at taking the pressure off when you’re sitting or lying down.
  • Get a helper – A friend or family member can provide invaluable support during the first 24 hours after a surgery. Minimising your exertion will help minimise pain and speed recovery.

Team Costhetics hopes these suggestions will help you turn the road to recovery into a fast-track.

Stay beautiful!

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