Skip to main content

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.


Schedule a Consultation

We Are Open!

View Update Virtual Consultation

Dr. Sullivan is happy to announce he has resumed elective surgeries!

We are also now seeing patients in the office again following all guidelines and taking every precaution possible to provide an incredibly safe environment for all patients and staff.

Due to cases being moved back from the spring and the pent up demand for our services we are expecting to be FULLY booked out for the summer soon, limited spots are available. If you have any interest in summer surgery or services, please call us or contact us immediately so we can help you coordinate this before those spots become unavailable. Further, if you are seeking any services or surgery in 2020, we are anticipating an increase in price soon to deal with operating room fee increases.

We are here for any surgical or cosmetic questions you may have. Get in touch with us to see if there is any way we can help you.

We will continue to be here virtually for all those who prefer to have consultations in the comfort of their home.

Our online virtual consultations have been a very popular option for patients from as far away as Asia as well as usual coast to coast patients from New York to California, Oregon to Florida and many in New England.

Our virtual web consultations can be done right in the comfort of your own home, all you need is a secure internet connection and a computer, tablet or smartphone! We have 5 main steps we aim to accomplish with the virtual consultation:

  1. We listen to each patient carefully to establish exactly what it is they are looking for.
  2. We will give instructions to each patient on the specific pictures we will need from them as part of the virtual consultation. We send out sample pictures of just what we need, and the patient can send back their pictures that replicate this.
  3. We have chosen specific before and after photos of Dr Sullivan’s patients in order to show the patients what a prospective patient can expect (note, individual results will vary).
  4. We plan out and together come up with what we think is going to be a superb treatment plan for them.
  5. Finally, we find a time that is best for them that we can get this done.

We welcome you. Please come - we are open & here for you. If you would like to have a VIRTUAL CONSULTATION or an IN PERSON CONSULTATION or have any questions at all, please give us a call at 401-214-5121 or contact us via the website to set up your virtual consultation today!

Virtual Consultation


Dr Sullivan was recently featured in the Providence Journal. With a high demand worldwide for his services, Dr Sullivan adapts to continuing patients' inquiries with virtual consultations.

Learn More Dr. Sullivan Virtual Consultations

Virtual Consultation