The surgical procedures that are performed by the surgeons at PPSD are designed to provide the best outcomes. However, there are times when a patient may need assistance in managing post-operative side effects. In these instances, there is no need to play the hero. Your energy is best spent resting and recuperating, and pain medications make that possible. They may also you to be more active, thereby protecting against some complications like blood clotting or pneumonia.
It’s important to note that doctors and nurses primarily measure your pain by asking you to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. In other words, if you do not accurately disclose how you feel, it may be difficult for the physician to prescribe the right pain medications. Clear communication is always the key to a successful recovery, so do not hesitate to be honest with your healthcare providers.
Types of pain you may experience after your procedure include…
- Pain at the operative site
- Muscle pain in the back, chest, shoulders or neck
- Joint and movement pain when you sit, walk or cough
- Inflammatory pain
- Throat pain from the endotracheal tube used with anesthesia
Below is an overview of the major methods used for managing pain.
At PPSD, the surgeons provide prescriptions for patients undergoing the vast majority of cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, liposuction, facelift, tummy tucks and others. The most commonly prescribed narcotic painkillers are Vicodin and Percocet, although some patients may require different medications. Side effects can be moderate to severe, and may include vomiting, nausea, drowsiness, itching, rash, or constipation. Remember that these medications can be dangerous and should be treated with respect.
Never drive a vehicle or operate machinery under the influence of narcotic pain medication. Narcotics should be taken with food, as they can upset the stomach. Another point to remember is that the commonly prescibed narcotics often contain acetaminophen (Tylenol), so beware of taking additional acetaminophen because it can lead to liver damage.
Non-prescription pain relief:
Over-the-counter medications come in several varieties. Two of the most popular ones are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Gentle on the stomach, Tylenol relieves fever and pain and is easily tolerated by most patients, including children. Care should be exercised, however, that additional Tylenol is not added to any existing medication containing this drug.
NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, Motrin, Naprosyn, among others) are chosen to combat swelling, pain, and inflammation. They are also adept at lowering a fever. NSAIDs can irritate the stomach and even cause bleeding. They are not appropriate medications for children, as they have been linked to diseases causing liver damage. NSAIDs should not be used for at least a week before or after your surgery unless cleared for use by your surgeon.
Regardless of the type of relief you choose for your pain, you should make sure your doctor is aware of any vitamins, supplements, herbs or medications you are already taking prior to surgery in order to avoid negative reactions. Failing to do so can have serious consequences on your health.
Your doctor may choose to help you to take advantage of heat or cold as a strategy to help relieve your pain. Ice packs and cold compresses can be effective in relieving pain and inflammation, but hot water bottles and heating pads should never be used after surgery unless specifically cleared by your surgeon.