In this second blog of our four part series on facial rejuvenation surgery and the recovery process we will discuss an extremely individualized aspect of our treatments. One of the most common concerns facial rejuvenation patients express is the concern that they will feel pain or discomfort following their surgery. Dr. Sullivan and his team of superb nurses and professionals work with each individual patient to address their specific needs to help manage any discomfort but also to ensure our patients are healing safely and properly.
Dr. Sullivan has been involved in research for many years in an effort to make facial rejuvenation surgery as pain free as possible. As well as being a board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Sullivan is also certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology (a medical specialty that focuses on the delicate anatomy of the ears, nose, throat, head and neck). He has published his findings on facial sensory nerves in the internationally renowned Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal as well as having been invited to speak on his findings at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons national meeting. He gathered this information from his laboratory studies. He has used his anatomic knowledge of the nerves and their variable positioning to block the sensory facial nerves at the time of surgery and to keep them from conducting pain impulses. He also uses a central nervous system blocker that is a Cox-2 inhibitor. This blocker is given to our patients the day before surgery as preemptive strike to block these central pathways. This blocker is nonnarcotic; therefore, it does not lead to the negative side effects of nausea or vomiting. This double treatment of both the central and peripheral pathways to prevent pain has proven highly successful for a large number of Dr. Sullivan’s patients. He has conducted thorough outcome studies with his patients, and has asked them to rate their pain level from zero to ten (with zero being no pain and ten being a great deal of pain) for the first seven days after surgery. The average rating for pain is less than 1, with many of the patients rating their pain levels at zero. In fact, most of Dr. Sullivan’s patients report experiencing no pain after their surgery. He has worked with a team of physicians and pain specialists to develop this approach. It has proven to be highly effective with his patients. Sullivan feels that this is an area where his research and knowledge of the anatomy gained in the laboratory has been extremely beneficial for his patients. We are so pleased this has been the case, as we strive to do everything we can to alleviate any discomfort our patients may experience following their surgery.
One of the best ways for ensuring you achieve the optimal surgical result is to strictly follow your surgeon’s postoperative instructions. Here at Dr. Patrick Sullivan’s office we work closely with each patient to develop a medication regime specifically designed for each individual and which takes into account all allergies, sensitivities and patient preferences.
Nausea is rarely experienced by our facial rejuvenation patients. When it does occur it generally lasts for only the first evening following surgery and may be a reaction to anesthesia. However, the incidence of nausea is extremely low since Dr. Sullivan prefers to use I.V. sedation and not general anesthesia. Thus, there is no intubation or attachment to a respirator and patients are not breathing in anesthesia gases that so often make people sick. Therefore it is rare that we need to prescribe a medication to manage this concern. Each patients needs are assessed on a case by case basis and Dr. Sullivan and his team are on hand to help adjust patient medications when needed. Regardless of what your concern or need might be Dr. Sullivan and his team make themselves available to all of our patients, no matter how small the question or concern.
“I Can’t Say That I Ever Experienced Any Pain At All”
Recovery was really what I expected; I had been pretty well prepared from talking to the nurses here, at the office. There was nothing unexpected. I can’t say that I ever experienced any pain at all. It was a couple of weeks out of work, which I had planned for. I had to be careful about covering my face and taking all the precautions that were explained to me ahead of time. I felt comfortable in secure in everyone’s hands here.
View this patient’s before and after photos in our gallery.