When you’re contemplating plastic surgery, one thing that can be difficult to imagine is the level of pain you might expect. It doesn’t help if your prospective plastic surgeon is a bit vague. You understand why your doctor might hesitate to be definitive about pain. After all, you know the main disclaimer-everyone experiences pain in his or her own way. You may even get it that when recovery is complete, any pain you may have felt will be a distant memory, much the same way that childbirth is for many women. But still you want your surgeon to stop using the word discomfort and answer the basic question: How much is it going to hurt?
With those same disclaimers in mind, here’s yet another one: I am a writer with years of experience covering plastic surgery, but I’m not a doctor. That said, I have heard the experiences of many women firsthand, and I’ve checked in with my friend and plastic surgeon, Dr. David Kaufman of Sacramento. With this input, here’s a prospective pain picture that may be of some help.
Generally Mild Pain
Rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, causes mild post-operative pain for most patients. Even when bones are broken or shaved during the procedure, many people get by afterward on over-the-counter pain relievers. Most other facial cosmetic surgery also causes minimal pain during recovery.
Most breast procedures also cause mild pain for most patients. You may not be able to raise your arms above your head for a few days, and your doctor will discourage you from lifting any weight for a bit. Otherwise, women often report that breast augmentation, breast lift and even breast reduction surgery is less painful than they expected. There is one potential exception, and that’s when breast implants are placed underneath the chest wall muscle (as they are often are nowadays).
Arm lift surgery, or brachioplasty, is usually not terribly painful. While the incisions between your elbow and armpit may make arm movement tricky for a while, the procedure itself does not venture deeply into the arms and disturb highly sensitive tissues.
Mild to Moderate Pain