June 2019

Plastic Surgery and Pain Control: How much does it really hurt?

The idea of ‘going under the knife’ is sometimes a scary one. Many people wonder about how much their plastic procedure process will be painful, and for how long it will hurt after the procedure. Pain might even be one of the reasons that people avoid procedures, even if they would like to have them. This has been one of the driving forces behind minimally invasive surgeries – procedures that take as little time as possible and require as little endurance from the customer as possible. Botox injections, soft tissue filler and more have become massively popular in this field, but this doesn’t stop surgical procedures such as nose and breast augmentation and liposuction from being the reigning choice of many customers globally.

Recent data shows that, for those who do choose cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, painkillers are the most popular prescription for pain – and that many of those prescriptions are opioids. This data comes a recent American study in which almost 500,000 people who had procedures on the nose, breast, abdomen or soft tissue area were asked about their pain treatment plans. Unfortunately, opioids are very addictive and patients who use them are more likely to continue using them after the recommended time period. It was revealed that in this group people with breast reduction or abdominal surgery used the painkillers the most.



This might be worrying – but there are some things to consider. Firstly we must note that it is far more common the USA to prescribe opioids, where is currently an ‘opioid epidemic’ which many people suffering addiction. Whilst opioids are available in Europe they are not as commonly given by doctors. Secondly, painkillers are only part of a treatment plan after plastic surgery, and there are things you can do whether or not you choose painkillers to recover from a more serious procedure.

It is advised by all doctors to take time off work in advance – if you know you’re having surgery you should book at least a week off work following your surgery. Depending on the surgery, it is very likely that you will be advised not to make strenuous movements, and certainly not to go to the gym. In addition to this many people choose alternative treatments such as yoga and organic anti-inflammatories in order to aid their process, although there is not much scientific evidence to support these, many people find them helpful.



The bottom line is that certain surgeries are more painful than others, and the recovery time is always going to be variable depending on what you want. You may find you can get straight back to work after a Botox injection, or that you need a week to take it easy after liposuction. Painkillers will always be recommended but responsible use is absolutely necessary, and the advice of your doctor must always be followed closely.