Pain Medication After Surgery – what to take, and what NOT to take
It is our goal for your surgical experience to be pleasant, rewarding, and comfortable. However, some procedures can cause discomfort which is appropriately addressed with pain medication. So, what is the right pain medication?
Your doctor will let you know what to take, and how to use it, but there are some important overall considerations.
- Tylenol is typically a good choice. Acetaminophen (or paracetamol outside of the USA), reduces pain safely after surgery. It is important to not exceed the recommended dosing on the package. For most adults that is 4000mg a day. Tylenol can be alternated, or taken together, with most prescription pain medication. You should always ask the doctor about your particular situation. Sometimes the prescription medication contains acetaminophen in it, and that needs to be remembered when determining the daily dosing (less than 4000mg total).
- Narcotic pain medications (such as oxycodone, hydrocodone) are strong pain medication and should not exceed the recommended dosing prescribed by your doctor. Also, these pain medications can have interactions with other medications (such as Valium, Ativan, and other sedatives) which should be taken into consideration. These medications are effective when used correctly, and not likely to result in any type of addiction problem, when used properly. These medications can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, and even reduce your breathing. They can affect your judgement so don’t drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or make important decisions while taking these medications.
- NSAIDS is the abbreviation for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen, aspirin, narproxen, diclofenac, and celecoxib. These medications can reduce pain well, and might be recommended by your doctor, but these medications are NOT to be taken for 2 weeks before or after any surgery. These medications increase the risk of bleeding after surgery. For some surgeries, in particular blepharoplasty (eyelift) and rhytidectomy (facelift), an increased risk of bleeding can cause undesired complications such as hematoma (a blood collection). Some older studies showed that ibuprofen does not increase the risk of bleeding after plastic surgery, but not all surgeries are the same, and we still recommend not take ibuprofen, aspirin, or other NSAIDS before or after your surgery unless specifically permitted by your doctor. If you need any of these for a medical problem, we will coordinate a best plan with your primary care doctor.
There are also nonmedical ways to make sure your procedure and recovery are comfortable. Among these are the proper use of ice, rest, and meditation.
If you have an unexpected or difficult amount of discomfort it is important to let your doctor know straight away. Pain is a message and sometimes it indicates the need for an intervention. Pain could indicate an infection, a fluid collection, or something else that your doctor will want to address promptly. So, always let us know if something doesn’t feel right!
We’re here to help and guide you to the best experience possible.
Meet Our Doctors
Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel
With special expertise in all aspects of facial plastic surgery, and a particular skill for revision surgery, it’s clear why Dr. Spiegel is one of the most celebrated facial plastic surgeons in the world. If you are seeking the best possible results, or have a uniquely challenging problem, you’ve found the right doctor. Learn more....
Dr. Onir L. Spiegel
Dr. Onir (pronounced “oh-near”) has years of experience in facial aesthetics and treats some of the most recognizable and famous faces. Dr. Onir started her career in oral health, earning doctorate degrees from both New York University and Boston University. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her cutting-edge medical research as well as her technical skills in dentistry. Learn more....