Not All Cosmetic Operations are Created Equally: Pain, Recovery, Results, and Satisfaction Can Significantly Differ

One cosmetic operation can be vastly different than another operation in terms of recovery, results, and satisfaction. Like the old adage, “all things are not created equally.” Recovery might be easy in one case and more difficult or painful in another. Results and satisfaction can vary from extremely high and predictable with one procedure to lower and less frequent with another. This is a big part of the learning that should be done before undertaking a cosmetic procedure. This educational writing will review some of the differences found for common and popular operations. It was written at the request of a patient from Newark, DE. It underscores the importance of doing your homework and learning about the different cosmetic operations.



Recovery can differ tremendously between operations. Some procedures have more pain than others. For example, tummy tucks and breast augmentation tend to have more pain than other cosmetic operations. The first 3-4 days can be tough, as pain is greatest at this early period in the recovery. Most surgical pain in plastic surgery comes from operations that have muscle work done. The muscles cause increased pain and discomfort. Breast augmentation and abdominoplasty operations have muscle work. So these procedures hurt more than many others. I use a PAIN PUMP or a “PAIN BUSTER” to help in these cases. The pain pump targets the muscles and can dramatically help reduce pain. I believe it has revolutionized the recovery from these operations. For those interested in more information on this fantastic pain medication delivery system

In contrast, recovery from liposuction can be surprising easy. Pain is typically minimal, and most people are pleasantly surprised with this. Many people can be back to work and easy activities in just a day or two. I let my liposuction or liposculpture patients resume all exercises and full workouts after just 10 days.

The recovery from a tummy tuck is much longer than liposuction. This operation has more pain as described above, because of the muscle tightening. I perform the CALIFORNIA CORSET to repair the muscles. It’s a fantastic muscle repair for the Rectus Diastasis, but muscle surgery does hurt. An abdominoplasty also has more activity restrictions after surgery than liposuction. Patients must learn to manage surgical drains. Activity is slowly increased over several weeks and unlimited activity is resumed after 4-6 weeks.

Blepharoplasty operations are also called eye tucks or eyelid lifts. This operation is done to rejuvenate the eye area by improving hooding, bags, and dark circles. The operation is surprisingly easy to recover from and has minimal pain. I have had this operation done on myself. I didn’t even take a Tylenol! I honestly had no pain. This operation is characteristically more about letting time go by to resolve bruising and swelling. Pain is usually minimal.


Cosmetic procedures on the face have different recovery periods than augmentation and tummy tuck described above. They usually have very little pain, but bruising and swelling on the face will require time to resolve or go away. This means a patient will need to “hibernate” and “hide out.” It’s a different “flavor” than body surgery with more pain. By flavor I mean that the recovery is different, and it’s important you learn and become educated on the specific recovery (or flavor) of your operation. The face heals with amazingly little pain. Eye tucks, neck lifts, and facelifts have so little pain that many of my patients take do not need to take any narcotics. However, since the operation is on the face, they will have to accept that people can see the bruising. Hibernation and rest are needed during this time frame, as bruises can take time to resolve. I review with my patients in detail the different recovery for each operation. This will make you educated and knowledgeable about the operation and what to expect.



Results and Satisfaction:

Results and satisfaction vary from one operation to another. Some procedures like breast augmentation have extremely high satisfaction and predictable results. Medical studies will show satisfaction with results and happiness in the high 90’s percentile. Similar satisfaction is seen with breast lift operations and with breast reduction surgery. Like all operations, this doesn’t guarantee success. Operations do have risks that must be understood.

Blepharoplasty operations also have high success and excellent results with great consistency. We look at each other in the eyes, so looking younger and more healthy in this area is important. The procedure is relatively short technically, has minimal pain, and financially is affordable for most. These are some of the reasons for the success and excellent results of this operation.