The 24 hour recovery has been popularized as a way of emphasizing the use of techniques which minimize pain after breast augmentation surgery. The techniques essentially involve the use very precise sculpting of the implant space or “pocket” using electrocautery to minimize trauma to the tissues during the surgery. Many older techniques involved the use of blunt tearing of the tissues to separate the muscle and breast tissue, which was immensely more uncomfortable. Many patients don’t require any pain medication and are able to enjoy themselves the night of surgery, sometimes going out for a meal or visiting a friend! Nonetheless, it is very important to understand that every human being is unique. There are patients who have the same surgery by the same doctor on the same day with different experiences. In my opinion it is not reasonable to deny that many patients will need pain medicine after a surgery that requires cutting some of the muscle free to shape the new breast.
Our system has evolved over the years to account for the fact that people are all different and we respect that and want to be sure our patients have the best, most comfortable experience possible. All of the patients at The Plastic Surgery Center of Dallas are given prescriptions in advance to be sure that all the bases are covered in the event of need. These meds don’t have to be used, and in fact the prescriptions don’t even have to be filled but we have found that some people are more comfortable with a muscle relaxer after breast augmentation under the muscle, some do need medication for nausea or upset stomach and many do in fact want to take some pain medication to be more comfortable. These are all provided in advance along with Valium to help calm the nerves if desired the night before surgery as well as the morning of the procedure.
In summary, the 24 hour recovery is possible for many patients but not for everyone. Techniques have evolved to minimize discomfort and greatly speed up recovery, but as with ALL surgeries, breast augmentation is real surgery. Skin, breast tissue and muscle are all involved in the creation of the space for the breast implant and some degree of pain is impossible to avoid. Our goal is to use the most advanced techniques, but also be liberal in providing the best options and medications for each individuals unique recovery and return to activity!