For patients considering breast reconstruction after mastectomy, pain during the recovery is a common concern. Narcotic pain medications are commonly prescribed for patient use, but many worry about becoming dependent upon the medications.
However, Dr. Allen Gabriel at Peace Health Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, WA is pioneering a new, non-narcotic method of managing the pain and discomfort of this procedure with the use of Botox.
A Revolutionary Treatment Option
During breast reconstruction surgery, tissue expanders placed beneath the skin are filled with fluid to prepare the body for the introduction of breast implants. Because these expanders are causing sudden stretching of the pectoral muscle, patients can experience muscle spasms that require the relief they can only find with powerful prescription drugs.
Botox is an injectable medication commonly used in the reduction of the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Botox is a proven, non-invasive facial rejuvenation treatment that has been used successfully worldwide. The use of Botox as a method of reducing patient discomfort after surgery, however, is something entirely new.
Physicians using Botox as a means of mitigating discomfort after surgery apply the medication much as they would for facial rejuvenation — by injecting it directly into the muscles they wish to immobilize. This has been shown to prevent patients from experiencing much of the discomfort, which also allows them to add more fluid during the visit, hastening the expansion process. Because of this patients are able to cease use of prescription narcotics sooner, and return to the activities of daily living without excessive discomfort.
For right now, the use of Botox for this purpose is considered off-label, and is therefore not covered by insurance. Most patients would agree, however, that being able to return to their normal lives after the trauma of a mastectomy without unnecessary pain might justify the additional expense.
Learn About Your Options
To learn more about this revolutionary new use for Botox, or about breast reconstruction after mastectomy, contact Boulder Plastic Surgery at 303-578-4193 to schedule a consultation with one of our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons.