Summary: We focus on the end results of plastic surgery quite a bit because that’s the fun part. But as with any results that are worth achieving, there is some work that goes into plastic surgery. And there’s some discomfort. So how painful is plastic surgery? Much will depend on your desired results, your procedure, and your health.

Wondering, How Painful is Plastic Surgery?

One of the most common questions about plastic surgery is also pretty reasonable, if you think about it. People are concerned about outcomes, of course—they want to look great and they want to feel wonderful about what they see in the mirror. But they also don’t want it to hurt too much. They want to know, how painful is plastic surgery?

In the eyes of the patient, the less pain there is the better. That’s understandable. In most cases, that’s also the goal of the surgeon. The more precise the incisions are, the less pain there will be (generally speaking). The less invasive the procedure is, the less pain there will be.

The answer to this question about how painful plastic surgery is becomes easy to answer generally: there will be some, but surgeons are working on making it be less.

Pain Varies By Procedure

To a large extent, it’s impossible to discuss the pain of “plastic surgery” broadly speaking. There’s simply too much variation between procedures. A tummy tuck is going to be more painful than a breast augmentation, for example. However, there are some procedures that are well known for being more painful than others.

  • Tummy tuck: This is one of the most notoriously painful plastic surgery procedures available today, in large part because of the size of the incision. But the pain is also due to the fact that the abdominal muscles are strengthened during the procedure. However, surgeons have come up with a couple of ways to minimize that discomfort, including the installation of a pain pump (other options include an injection of a numbing agent). Even with this discomfort, most patients deem tummy tuck as being “worth it” due to the excellent results.
  • Body Contouring: In general, body contouring procedures (and this covers a wide variety of procedure types) have a reputation for being higher on the discomfort bar. These procedures, such as a lower body lift, require several weeks off of work and are generally used when patients have lost a significant amount of weight. However, as with the case of tummy tuck procedures, most patients feel that the rewards far outweigh anything else.

Procedures Light on the Discomfort

There are some procedures that are extraordinarily light on the discomfort, all things considered. One of those procedures is breast augmentation. In most cases, surgeons are able to complete breast augmentation procedures with only minimally invasive techniques.

So that’s why we put breast augmentation on our list of procedures that are light on discomfort. Now, this will depend on the individual patient and any complications that might arise. Likewise, minimally invasive procedures such as facelifts and rhinoplasty procedures have gotten even better at minimizing discomfort.

Minimizing Discomfort During Recovery

Because most of the discomfort felt due to plastic surgery is experienced during the recovery process, most surgeons will take great care to manage pain during this time. In some cases, discomfort can be managed with over the counter solutions (such as Tyleonol).

However, in other cases, more powerful drugs are required. It’s important to follow your surgeon’s recovery instructions to the letter. These instructions are usually developed not only to help you minimize discomfort, but also to help you maximize your possible results.

Difficult to Avoid Discomfort

In some ways, our goal to avoid discomfort is wrong-headed. Discomfort is a signal that things are changing. Learning something new, for example, is often quite uncomfortable. Having your beliefs challenged is uncomfortable. Running a marathon is uncomfortable. Heck, exercise is uncomfortable.

But that doesn’t mean that any of those things are unworthy pursuits. The discomfort that comes with plastic surgery is, in a way, unavoidable—whether you see a plastic surgeon in Houston or a in New York. Most surgeons will be up front about that.

But most patients end up considering the transformation worth the cost. In the end, only you can make that kind of decision for yourself. If you have questions about what will happen and how it will feel, you should consult with a highly qualified plastic surgeon who will be completely open and transparent about everything.

Because when that plastic surgeon is open and transparent, you can trust that surgeon when he says something like, “This won’t hurt a bit.”

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