How to Reduce Pain and Recover Better After Plastic Surgery

Since 2017, we have been using a protocol that we call Fast Recovery After Plastic Surgery (FRAPS).  It is based on Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) that was first developed in Europe.  When planning your own Cosmetic Surgery or when looking for a Plastic Surgeon in San Antonio or in your own town, you should look for a surgeon who follows the FRAPS protocol.

The main goal is fast recovery after Plastic Surgery

There are many components to FRAPS geared to promote the main goals of faster recovery and quicker return to your normal activity levels.  While it does take time for your body to heal and produce collagen after Plastic Surgery, we know there are several things that can prolong the time it takes to heal.  These factors can also increase the risks of complications such as wound infections. Some of these things may seem counter-intuitive, but they are effective in several different types of Cosmetic Surgery.  I will use this post to review some of the basics, but please ask during your consultation if you have any specific questions or want more details.

What can you do before Cosmetic Surgery to make recovery easier?

The first area that we focus on is the Preoperative Phase.  With FRAPS we like to improve your nutritional status as much as possible before Plastic Surgery, so now we will allow a clear liquid energy drink up to 2 hours before your Cosmetic Surgery, as long as you are not diabetic.  Studies have shown this helps improve your body’s stress hormone response to surgery. We also routinely prescribe a patch for you to apply the night before surgery to prevent any nausea or vomiting with anesthesia. If you vomit or wretch after Plastic Surgery, you risk disrupting sutures or causing bleeding.  We also prescribe medicine to take on your way to the hospital or surgery center. By preventing your brain from sensing pain, you will have less pain after Cosmetic Surgery.

What do we do during the operation to make recovery from your Plastic Surgery faster?

In the Operating Room, the anesthesiologist focuses on making sure you do not get sick after Plastic Surgery by giving you several different kinds of anti-nausea medicines.  We also use what is called a multi-modality approach to pain management. In addition to the regular anesthetics, we also use a lot of local anesthetics. Some of these local anesthetics can last up to 72 hours.  The anesthesia during Plastic Surgery also includes several different types of non-narcotic pain medicine. Narcotic pain medicine is excellent for pain relief, but it can delay your recovery by slowing your system down.  The fewer narcotics you take, the faster your recovery will be.

What can you do after Cosmetic Surgery to heal better?

After Cosmetic Surgery, we encourage early and frequent walking.  Now that most people have step counters on their wrists or on their phones, we encourage setting goals and tracking your performance.  We give you prescriptions for narcotics after Plastic Surgery but like to minimize how much you use. The sooner you can transition to Over The Counter pain medicines, the sooner you will recover.  We also like to prescribe topical pain creams and patches to reduce the need for narcotics.

By reducing the number of narcotics, using local anesthetics, and getting patients to walk soon after Cosmetic Surgery, we are able to get patients back to their normal routines faster with fewer complications.  When choosing a Plastic Surgeon in San Antonio, be sure to ask about FRAPS and ERAS. If the Plastic Surgeon is unaware of the protocols, you may want to select another surgeon. I happen to know an excellent Plastic Surgeon in San Antonio – just call or text 210-499-5900 to schedule an appointment today.

If you would like to view the protocols, you can find them on the Fast Recovery After Plastic Resource Page.

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