Managing Post Plastic Surgery Pain

We spend so much of our lives trying to avoid pain. And for good reason. When one is in discomfort, it’s hard on the mind and the body.

The physical and emotional stress of being in pain also makes it harder to recover from surgery. That’s why managing post plastic surgery pain is such an important component of the overall procedure.

In fact, pain control following plastic surgery isn’t just a focus for the patient. It’s a priority for any board-certified plastic surgeon who wants to ensure their patient’s full recovery.

Managing Post Plastic Surgery Pain

Your specific post-operative pain management needs will depend on your procedure. And you may receive more than one type of pain treatment. Whatever the case, be assured that managing your pain safely and effectively will be the priority.


Typically, pain after plastic surgery is managed to some degree with analgesics. These pain-reducing medications are known by many names.

You’re likely familiar with with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and celecoxib. You might know these better by their brand-names: Advil, Aleve, and Celebrex. All of these lessen inflammatory activity. In addition, there is also acetaminophen (Tylenol) that can be utilized for managing pain.

The type, delivery, and dosage of analgesics would be determined by the doctor based on type of surgery, expected recovery, and each patient’s individual needs.

Nerve Blocks

There are also local anesthetics that can be administered to specific parts of the body to cause temporary loss of sensation. This provides targeted relief to the area. And nerve blockers such as the long-lasting anesthetic drug called Exparel have been a game changers in the plastic surgery field.

Before Exparel, narcotics such as opioids were the most effective medications for keeping post-surgical pain under control. But the side effects of narcotics include dizziness, drowsiness, constipation and nausea. Plus there’s the very real risk of addiction.

Much like getting a shot at the dentist to numb the pain, Exparel is administered at the end of the surgical procedure before the patient is awakened. When the patient comes out of surgery, the area is numb.

Unlike a dental numbing, however, Exparel then continues to provide pain control for up to three days. While it doesn’t eliminate the pain during recovery, it greatly reduces (by about 2/3) the amount of narcotics a patient would usually require during this crucial healing time.

And the fewer narcotics, the better.


The combination of an anesthetic like Exparel with preoperative non-narcotic pain medications and muscle relaxants has proven to significantly decrease the amount of narcotic pain medication patients require after surgery.

In some cases though, narcotics such as opioids will be needed for very short-term use. At no point will an ethical plastic surgeon prescribe opioids for chronic, long-term pain.

As such, patients are educated on the risks associated with opioids and their potential side effects. If needed, they will be the smallest dose effective for the shortest possible time and tapered off after that time.

A Little Pain = Tremendous Gain

Are you ready to improve your life with plastic surgery?

If so, just remember that managing post plastic surgery pain is easier, safer, and more effective now than ever. Plus, you’ll be thoroughly educated on all pain medications and the role of each drug in your recovery process.

So contact us today for a free consultation. And change your life for the better.