After plastic surgery, many patients may experience pain and discomfort, especially in the first week. Pain can impact their day-to-day activities and the extent and degree of pain you feel after any cosmetic procedure depends multiple factors. The type of procedure you undergo, your pain threshold, the use of local anaesthetic during the procedure and even your age can have influence.
Always discuss what pain medication is needed with your doctor. If you have history of severe pain after surgery or medications side effects, please mention it to your surgeon and anaesthesiologist. They can tailor a plan to suit your needs, taking into account the type of procedure.
There are ways to manage pain after cosmetic surgery procedures which can help to speed up the recovery process and provide pain relief. The first thing you need to remember is that there is no benefit in tolerating pain. It is better to keep pain under control rather than to wait until it becomes unmanageable.
How can you feel less pain?
- Take pain medication as directed
Over-the-counter pain medications can be an effective and affordable way of analgesia. Even though it may not be enough to provide full relief, they will reduce the amount of other medications required. Painkillers such as paracetamol are often prescribed as a standard treatment for after any in-hospital procedures like plastic surgery. If the pain worsens, your surgeon may prescribe stronger medicine such as opioids. Please be aware that some medications may have side effects such as sleepness, impaired cognitive function, dizziness, nausea, lack of appetite and constipation. It is important not to drive when taking those medications.
- Get a good night’s sleep
Following a proper sleep schedule can naturally assist your recovery and reduce pain after surgery. It may be difficult to resume your routine straight after surgery and you may even need some medication to help you sleep. Make sure your body gets a much needed rest in line with the natural body clock as soon as possible.
- Get up and mobilise
Early mobilisation will assist with pain control and reduce the risk of thrombosis and blood clots. Ask for assistance and try to have your meals sitting on a chair. Go for short walks on the ward or in your house.
In addition, your doctor may direct you to do some gentle stretching exercises. For instance, breast augmentation with sub-muscular pockets can be more painful and pec major muscle exercises are very helpful in reducing pain.
- Managing swelling and bruising
In some cases your doctor will give you instructions to elevate your head or limb. Elevation will help the fluids that cause swelling drain more easily out of the operated area and provide relief. Also, ice packs are a natural “local anaesthetic” that numbs, promotes vasoconstriction reducing the blood flow, swelling and bruising.
Keep your pain under control
Post-surgery pain can be hard to deal with both physically and mentally. However, it’s really important to stay comfortable, taking pain medication when necessary. You may feel tempted to be more active when the pain and swelling start to subside. It is at this stage that some people may overdo activities and stop following after care instructions. Do not rush your recovery to avoid recurrence of pain and swelling.