On-Q® Pain Relief System Eases Recovery from Breast Implant Surgery, Notes Chicago-area Plastic Surgeon Allan Parungao, MD

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Recovering from breast augmentation surgery can be painful--especially if the implants are placed under the chest muscle. The On-Q Pain Relief System makes recovery much more comfortable by automatically numbing the surgical site for the first few days after the operation. Many surgeons charge $500 extra for On-Q, but Chicago-area plastic surgeon Allan Parungao, MD, offers this pain-relief system at no extra charge.

Allan Parungao, MD, FACS

On-Q is designed to give patients a more comfortable surgical recovery—without narcotic side-effects such as breathing difficulties, nausea, constipation and that groggy, ‘knocked-out’ feeling.

Breast implant surgery is the most popular cosmetic procedure among American women, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. From 1997 to 2009, the number of procedures performed each year increased 208%, from 101,176 to 311,957.

Until recently, breast augmentation patients had to rely heavily on narcotic medications to ease the pain during the first few days after their surgery. But the relief these drugs provided often wasn't enough--and narcotic pain relievers are known to cause uncomfortable side-effects.

Today, many patients are benefiting from a newer analgesic approach: the On-Q Pain Relief System. "On-Q is a simple system for delivering a local pain-killer in the first few days after surgery," explains Chicago-area board-certified plastic surgeon Allan Parungao, MD, FACS.

In many cases, breast implants are placed beneath the chest muscle to make the breast augmentation look and feel more natural. "But creating the space for the implant is painful because we have to divide some of the muscle fibers to make room for it," Dr. Parungao explains.

"On-Q is designed to give patients a more comfortable recovery--without narcotic side-effects such as breathing difficulties, nausea, constipation and that groggy, 'knocked-out' feeling," Dr. Parungao explains. "Many plastic surgeons charge $500 extra for On-Q, but we offer it at our Oak Brook and Naperville offices at no extra charge."

According to an article in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, applying local anesthetic at the surgical site blocks the transmission of the body's pain signals. This appears to be the safest approach to post-operative pain management without the unwanted systemic side-effects of a narcotic.

"As I am finishing surgery, I put the On-Q device in place at the incision site," explains Dr. Parungao, author of A Woman's Guide to Cosmetic Breast Surgery and Body Contouring. "On-Q is a small, high-tech balloon that automatically delivers a local anesthetic slowly and continuously to keep the surgical site numb.

"Some patients still take narcotic pain relievers, but the amount is significantly less than without the On-Q pain pump," says Dr. Parungao. "Preventing pain is much easier than relieving it once it's there."

"Tasha," a 35-year-old registered nurse and mother of four, was apprehensive before her recent Mommy Makeover surgery--until she heard about the On-Q pain pump. Her makeover included breast implants, a tummy tuck and liposuction.

"I'd heard from my friends who'd had breast augmentation that they'd had painful throbbing, but with On-Q, I had no pain in my breasts," says Tasha.

"I had plastic On-Q catheters put in my breasts at the end of my surgery," she recalls. "Every few minutes, the On-Q released anesthetic medication. I had my surgery on a Wednesday, and the pain pump was removed a Friday. It was a life-saver!"

"A newer version of On-Q will soon be available that will be ideal for Mommy Makeovers," says Dr. Parungao. "That version will have enough catheters for us to place one in the stomach area after a tummy tuck at the same time we place catheters under the breasts following breast augmentation."

For more information about the On-Q pain pump, visit http://www.parungao.com/on-q.

Allan Parungao, MD, FACS, is a plastic surgeon and author board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He has Chicago-area offices in Oak Brook, Naperville and Vernon Hills, Ill. For more information, visit http://www.parungao.com

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