Close

Post-Procedure Pain: Real Plastic Surgery Patients Rate Their Pain

Written by WD Staff, Skin Care Specialists on May 10, 2022 No Comments

post surgery pain

One of the most common questions received during patient consultations is “how much will it hurt?” In order to provide a comprehensive answer, the surgical teams at Westlake Dermatology directly surveyed patients immediately following surgery and throughout the 5 days following the procedure. Data from these surveys has been collected and aggregated to form a standardized Pain Index for Facial Plastic Surgery Procedures. This direct survey provides interesting insight into post-procedure pain that real patients experience.

Methodology

Prior to their procedure, patients were provided with a survey and asked to document their pain levels during recovery as well as their need for prescription pain medication (view blank survey form).

Patients were instructed to rate the level of pain they experienced during the first 5 days following their procedure on a scale from 0 to 10 (with 0 being absolutely no pain, and 10 being unimaginable or unspeakable pain). Patients were also asked if their post-procedure pain was more, less, or equal to what they expected it would be prior to performing their procedure. Patients were asked to list the amount of prescription medication (by number of pills) used throughout the period. Lastly, patients were given the opportunity to add comments regarding any aspect of pain or their recovery.

To ascertain the most accurate data possible, all patients were instructed to fill the survey out daily during this 5-day recovery period. All patients returned their pain survey during their first in-office post-operative visit.

Disclaimer: This post does not constitute medical advice. All data was self-reported from a sample of Westlake Dermatology patients. The recovery experience from any plastic surgery procedure can vary greatly from patient to patient as individual pain tolerances vary. Other variables including the surgical technique performed, the surgeon’s experience/skill level, type of pain medication, amount of pain medication, and the patient’s unique response to pain medication can impact post-operative pain and discomfort levels. 

Rhinoplasty Pain Data

Average pain levels cited by patients following rhinoplasty surgery (on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 indicating absolutely no pain and 10 indicating unimaginable pain):

# of Days After Surgery 1 2 3 4 5
Reported Degree of Pain (0-10) 3.6 4.3 3.6 2.6 2.1
Number of respondents: 35
  • 62% of respondents said rhinoplasty was less painful than they expected, while another 28% indicated post-surgery pain equaled their expectations. 10% said the pain was higher than expected.
  • Patients required an average of 7 prescription pain pills over the first 5 days post-procedure while recovering from rhinoplasty.

Comments From Rhinoplasty Patients

  • “My pain was way less than what I expected. I felt little to no pain from the ride home from surgery to 5 days after”
  • “Stitches under the nose would sting but pain subsided with narco / Tylenol”
  • “Overall, barely any bruising or pain”
  • “A lot of discomfort due to no nasal breathing and lack of sleep”
  • “Pain in front teeth worsened on day 5”
  • “In hindsight, I should have not started to take narcotic pain meds until the afternoon of day 1 when pain started to peak.”
  • “The pain was from the pressure and it felt like I could feel the stitching in my nose at times”
  • “Worst pain was in throat / neck area”
  • “Some pain in tip of nose at night, not too bad though”

Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) Pain Data

Average pain levels cited by patients following eyelid surgery (on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 indicating absolutely no pain and 10 indicating unimaginable pain):

# of Days After Surgery 1 2 3 4 5
Reported Degree of Pain (0-10) 3.2 2 2 1.7 1.4
Number of respondents: 12
  • 66% of respondents said blepharoplasty was less painful than they expected, while another 22% indicated post-surgery pain equaled their expectations. 12% said pain levels were more than they expected.
  • Patients required an average of 6 prescription pain pills over the first 5 days post-procedure while recovering from eyelid surgery.

Comments From Blepharoplasty Patients

  • “Really isolated to incision area and was not very bad”
  • “I had no pain, just swelling and bruising. Surgery went better than expected”
  • “Ice help tremendously!”
  • “Pain comes and goes”
  • “Pain only lasted for 3 days”
  • “More itchy and uncomfortable than painful”

Facelift Pain Data

Average pain levels cited by patients following facelift surgery (on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 indicating absolutely no pain and 10 indicating unimaginable pain):

# of Days After Surgery 1 2 3 4 5
Reported Degree of Pain (0-10) 3.6 2.8 2.5 1.8 1.6
Number of respondents: 6
  • 83% of respondents said facelift surgery recovery was less painful than they expected, while the remaining 17% indicated that pain was more than expected.
  • Patients required an average of 6 prescription pain pills over the first 5 days post-procedure while recovering from facelift surgery.

Comments From Facelift Patients

  • “Pain was like a dull throbbing”
  • “After 5 days I found that I was most bothered by itching around the sutures”
  • “Pain was more from the staples and wrap”
  • “Pain was easily controlled by meds”
  • “Didn’t need the pain pills. Less painful than I thought. More discomfort than pain”
  • “Pain was less, it was just discomfort”

 


WD Staff

A united group of skin care specialists from Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, Austin's leader in Dermatology and Plastic Surgery. Articles posted under WD staff are authored through combined contributions from our entire team, including Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Aestheticians, Physician Assistants, Aesthetic Nurses, and Patient Coordinators.


Leave a Reply