Pre-Op Worry About Pain And Problems Associated With Surgery

I am scheduled for a breast lift with silicone implants 350 under the muscle. I am 53. I am suddenly very nervous as I have read reports of the pain and sproblems associated with this surgery. Am I getting worked up for nothing? Thank-you so much.

Doctor Answers 13

Pain Pumps to reduce post-operative pain after breast imlants

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The recovery from subpectoral breast augmentation used to be a rather unpleasant experience, but it no longer has to be. A space for the implant must be developed behind the pectoralis major, and a portion of the muscle's inferior origin must be released. Surgery on a muscle in most cases produces significant postoperative pain, and that is certainly true for breast augmentation. However, by using a local anesthetic infusion device (oain pump') for the first two to three days after surgery, the pain associated with this procedure can be reduced quite dramatically.

While breast augmentation patients in this practice receive a prescription for a mild narcotic pain medication for use after surgery (just in case), most of them never take it. Most patients report little to no pain in the evening following surgery, and perhaps some mild discomfort on Postop day one and two. Patients can resume all normal, non-strenuous activities of daily living immediately after surgery, and can begin pec major range of motion exercises on the evening of their procedure.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Preop anxiety about pain and complications

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It is completely appropriate for you to be concerned about pain and complications. Frankly, when patients don't worry and slough off these concerns, I get worried!! An informed patient is a patient who will participate well in her own care. No surgery is pain-free. However, what you should know is that the pain from augmentation under the muscle is like a faucet--it turns off within 72 hours when the muscle stops contracting. Your plastic surgeon should be able to provide you with reasonable prescription pain medication to get you through this period. Definitely discuss pain treatment alternatives prior to the procedure as this should put your mind at ease.

Anxiety and pain associated with Breast Surgery

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It is completely normal to have some anxiety about upcoming surgery. Most patients experience this, and I tell my patients that a modest degree of anxiety is to be expected when you are about to embark on body changing operation. It is also not too difficult to work yourself into a state of paranoia from reading about horror stories associated with cosmetic surgery, particularly on the internet.

Your surgeons office should be able to give you reassurance and answer any relevant question you might have. Also, some discomfort is expected, but is usually very well managed with standard medications. Pain pumps can provide even more relief, but they are really uneccessary for the vast majority of patients.

An augmentation mastopexy is a very complex procedure. You should feel secure that your surgeon understands your breast concerns very well, and has the expertise to deliver a quality result. If you are not comfortable about this, and this is the source of your anxiety, then you should either revisit to address any outstanding concerns, or consider consulting with several physcicians to make sure you are comfortable with your choice.

Anxiety prior to breast lift surgery

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Anxiety before breast lift surgery is quite normal.  To help you get through this period, make certain you have had all your major questions and concerns answered.  I recommend writing all of your questions down and prioritizing them so you can have your surgeon or his/her assistant answer them in an organized fashion.  Check with your surgeon for recommendations for dosages of pain  medicines along with alternatives to treating pain.  You can also ask your surgeon for a pre operative sedative, such as Valium, which you may take the night before or the morning of the surgery.  this should help you get through you surgery with as little discomfort as possible.  Best wishes.

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

It is normal to get anxious before your surgery

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It is normal to get anxious before your surgery.  Ideally, you are able to talk to your surgeon or his/her patient coordinator who can answer all your questions and address all your concerns.  Remember that all surgical procedures are associated with potential problems.  Seeking out an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in the particular area that you are interested in is your best step towards a happy outcome.
Martin Jugenburg, MD

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 518 reviews

Anxiety prior to surgery

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Anxiety prior to surgery is very common particularly the night before. Reading information posted by individuals is neither necessarily a reliable or even factual approach to assess any procedure and, furthermore, there is nothing that places these issues into proper perspective. If you have particular concerns, you should definitely discuss them with your plastic surgeon or the nurse. You may feel less anxious if you can better understand the issues particularly the ones bothering you.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Anxiety before surgery is to be expected

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Hi there-

Don't be concerned that your anxiety is anything but normal...

On the other hand, under the proper circumstances (well-trained and experienced surgeon, accredited facility, appropriate anesthesia care), the surgery you are having should have a very high safety profile and rate of satisfaction.

While I cannot speak to the experience of your surgeon's patients, I can say that the vast majority of my own say that they do not experience true pain, but rather a heavy feeling in the chest as though there were a heavy book sitting on them. 

As far as problems, there is no doubt that surgery and implants have risks that you should be aware of, but again, under the appropriate circumstances these risks should be very low and manageable. Remember also the adage that happy and satisfied people are much less vocal than those with a complaint... Unfortunately, it will always be easy to find unhappy people on the internet... and for better or worse, it is still true that happy patients are usually much less likely to broadcast their happiness and satisfaction (although sites like RealSelf have improved this!)

Recovery after breast augmentation with breast lift

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It's quite normal to be anxious before surgery. You're recovery should be quite smooth provided you take your pain medication and muscle relaxants afterwards; as patients usually complain of tightness and pressure more than pain. Discuss this in detail with your plastic surgeon if you have any further questions before your surgery.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 410 reviews

Pain after Breast Surgery

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Thank you for the question.
I ask my patients  to try to be as calm as possible prior to surgery;  this “calmness"  tends to translate to a smoother postoperative course. You may be able to alleviate some  anxiety with music, exercise, sexual activity etc. prior to your procedure.
Don't hesitate to express your concerns to your plastic surgeon;  hopefully he/she will use long-acting local anesthesia  to allow for  a comfortable immediate postoperative period.  Muscle relaxants and narcotics will help to keep you comfortable after surgery.
Generally, patients find that they did “get worked up for nothing” after their  recovery  is completed.
I hope this helps.

Pain after breast augmentation and breast lift

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When discussing cosmetic breast surgery, plastic surgeons tend to talk a fair amount about post op pain issues as this is one of the most common fears of patients.  I can say that most of the time patients are pleasantly surprised that the surgery was not as painful as they expected.  Every procedure has a certain amount of pain associated with it, and each patient has a different pain tolerance.  Fortunately, we have some excellent ways to deal with post op pain.  Apart from the usual oral pain medications, some plastic surgeons offer pain pumps.  These pumps are placed during the surgery, filled with a local anesthetic, and removed after 3 days in the office.  

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.