One of the most popular questions prospective plastic surgery patients have for their doctor is, “How painful is plastic surgery?” While many are excited about rejuvenating their appearance, they are not as excited about the possible pain and discomfort the surgery may cause.
If you are worried about being in pain after plastic surgery, we are here to put your concerns to rest. Below, we focus on two popular procedures’ potential pain points: the amount of pain after breast augmentation and pain after facelift surgery.
How Painful Is Plastic Surgery?
Over the last few years, the technology and equipment used by plastic surgeons continue to evolve. Most of these innovations are aimed at trying to minimize the pain and discomfort felt by patients during and after treatment. The goal of every plastic surgeon is for the patient to feel the least amount of pain possible, but the fact of the matter is that it would be impossible to undergo surgery and not feel any kind of discomfort during recovery.
A skilled surgeon performs every surgery with incredible precision, hoping to minimize both the chances of significant scarring and any pain. While some discomfort is likely to be felt following plastic surgery, it should be very manageable and any pain is likely to fade very quickly during the recovery process. The level of pain is also subjective, as there are a variety of different factors that can influence the amount of discomfort post-surgery.
What Contributes to How Much Pain a Patient Feels?
The way each individual feels and perceives the world is unique, based on their genetics and a variety of other factors. These differences mean that each individual perceives pain differently. While some may describe plastic surgery as a completely pain-free experience, others may find themselves in a large amount of discomfort.
If you are trying to determine how much pain you’ll be in post-procedure, there are a number of factors that contribute to how much pain a patient feels. Below, you can learn about the most impactful factors and how they can influence how much pain you feel following plastic surgery.
Your Age at the Time of the Surgery
Your age can impact how much pain you feel. In general, young people tend to be more sensitive to pain than older people. While this can obviously vary from person to person, older people tend to be more tolerant of pain for two key reasons.
First, older people tend to have senses that have dulled over time, meaning they may be less in tune with their perception of pain. Second, young people have less experience with pain, both because they have not lived as long and experienced as much, and also because young people are less likely to have conditions that cause chronic pain.
Your Pain Tolerance and Previous Experiences with Pain
Experience with pain is the ultimate factor when it comes to your perception of pain. If a baby falls down, they immediately panic and start crying, as this is likely one of the most painful events they have ever experienced. Conversely, a professional boxer can take a punch to the face and be relatively unfazed, as they have taken thousands of punches to the face over time.
If you are someone who has never undergone surgery or had any kind of accident that resulted in a high level of pain, your pain threshold may be very low. You may find recovery from plastic surgery very painful, while someone who is a veteran of a dozen surgeries in their lifetime may be unfazed by recovery from plastic surgery.
Whether or Not Anesthesia Is Used
The use of anesthesia can impact whether or not you feel pain during and after plastic surgery. Anesthesia is a highly effective way to allow patients to experience plastic surgery completely pain free, as anesthesia blocks the perception of pain from the brain. Anesthesia also can help reduce feelings of nausea and vomiting following surgery.
The Type of Plastic Surgery Procedure You Undergo
Every surgery is different. Some plastic surgeries only require a tiny incision and should not result in any real discomfort (even with the most squeamish patients), while other procedures are complex surgeries that will require weeks of recovery time.
Take a tummy tuck as an example. The standard tummy tuck features a long incision that goes from hip to hip, while a mini tummy tuck has a much smaller incision. Obviously, the standard tummy tuck will likely result in more discomfort than a mini tummy tuck, simply based on the fact that the incision is larger and the procedure is more impactful.
Pain After Facelift Surgery
A facelift is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures, allowing patients to rejuvenate their appearance by reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. If you are a patient that is interested in getting a facelift, you are likely curious about the amount of pain after facelift surgery.
After a facelift, patients can expect their faces to be bruised, swollen, and feel tight. There may also be some slight pain and discomfort, but it can be easily managed with prescription pain medication. After just a few days, you can expect any discomfort to subside. Typical recovery times also allow patients to resume normal activities, such as going back to work, pain-free in under a week.
Pain After Breast Augmentation
Breast augmentation is also incredibly popular, as many patients are eager to improve the shape and size of their breasts. In fact, in 2018 there were 313,735 breast augmentation procedures, making it the most common plastic surgery in the United States! If that many people are opting to undergo the procedure, it is clear that the general understanding of pain after breast augmentation must be very manageable.
Patients usually feel some slight discomfort in the first day or two following surgery. To manage the pain, patients can usually use an over-the-counter pain management drug such as Tylenol. For patients with a low pain threshold or who are experiencing more than a little discomfort, your plastic surgeon can prescribe you prescription pain management medication. (As always, follow any recovery plan your surgeon creates with you pre-procedure.) Along with some discomfort, patients can expect to feel tightness around the breasts, as well as some sensitivity and itchiness in the chest area.
Schedule a Plastic Surgery Consultation with Dr. Leo Lapuerta
If you are interested in breast augmentation, a facelift, or a different plastic surgery procedure, Dr. Leo Lapuerta can help. Dr. Lapuerta is an expert plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience serving patients in Katy, Pearland, and Houston, Texas.
What is Dr. Lapuerta’s answer to, “How painful is plastic surgery?” Dr. Lapuerta uses his skills and training to minimize any discomfort, allowing patients to have a relatively pain-free recovery from plastic surgery. While everyone’s pain threshold is different, most agree that plastic surgery is not very painful, and recovery is usually quick and easy.
If you are interested in learning more about the amount of pain after plastic surgery or would like to schedule a surgical consultation, contact Dr. Lapuerta by calling (713) 489-0169.