Chicago-Area Patients Not Only Can Avoid Narcotics, But SHOULD Avoid Narcotics

Would you rather manage post-surgical pain, or prevent it from starting in the first place? Dr. Iteld firmly believes in the benefits of addressing pain before you even feel it, which shapes his mission at Iteld Plastic Surgery. When it comes to narcotics-free recovery, the Chicago-based plastic surgeon explains this simple truth to his patients: You don’t have to worry about pain that doesn’t exist.

Long-acting local anesthetics and evolving technology have made recovery from plastic surgery more comfortable than ever before. Taking the extra step to create a better experience for each patient via narcotics-free recovery is not a guessing game, but a carefully planned procedural approach Dr. Iteld has worked for years to develop and perfect.

Procedure Spotlight

How Narcotics-Free Recovery Works

Eliminating narcotic use after surgery begins by putting non-narcotic medications to work prior to any incisions being made. These include special anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the sensation of throbbing and aching, medication to reduce nerve sensitivity, and a pill to reduce the risk of nausea.

During the procedure itself, long-acting local anesthetics are injected into the surgical site. These non-opioid drugs are designed to release gradually over the following two to three days, giving you the recovery time you need without pain.

By the time the drugs are fully released, you’re well on your way to being able to deal with any residual discomfort. After surgery, he also adds muscle relaxants, when appropriate, to deal with spasms that may add discomfort.

These medications work together to equal—and frequently exceed—the analgesia used with narcotic-based techniques. Additionally, narcotic-related side effects are eliminated. That means no surgery-related sedation, nausea, constipation, and confusion, allowing patients to resume their typical activities and lifestyle within hours, not days.

Since introducing and refining this protocol, Dr. Iteld has found that most patients require only Tylenol® during their recovery period—and they virtually never report a need for narcotics. On the rare occasions that over-the-counter solutions aren’t enough to manage a patient’s pain, Dr. Iteld prescribes non-narcotic pain relievers for a couple of days.

Procedure Spotlight

Narcotics-Free Recovery FAQs


Dr. Iteld talks about Opioid-Free: A better Way to Recover, published in Modern Aesthetics. Read this important article about why it’s time to rethink the standard approach to plastic surgery patient care.


Nearly every plastic surgery Dr. Iteld offers where he makes an incision can be a narcotics-free process. This includes:

  • All breast procedures:Augmentation, Reduction, Lift, and Reconstruction
  • Tummy tuck
  • Liposculpture/Liposuction
  • Brazilian butt lifts
  • Arm, thigh, and body lifts
  • Male breast reduction
  • Facelift

Don’t see the procedure you’re considering listed here? Talk to Dr. Iteld about the narcotics-free possibilities for the surgery you have in mind.


Regardless of your procedure, and the fact that you are not using narcotics to manage pain, your body still needs time to recover. The recuperation window varies from patient to patient and depends on the procedure. It’s important to remember that different people heal at different rates. That said, you can generally expect the following:

  • a few hours of grogginess immediately after surgery
  • surgical incisions that should be monitored as they heal
  • some swelling, tenderness, and/or bruising around the site
  • generalized aching for a few days, much like how you feel the day after a really hard workout at the gym

You’ll need to reduce your movements and activity levels for a few days or weeks depending on the procedure performed. Dr. Iteld and his team will guide you through the recovery process and get you back to normal life as soon as possible.


Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
RealSelf VERIFIED doctor

Lawrence Iteld, MD, is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and a highly regarded Chicago based plastic surgeon, receiving awards from Chicago Magazine’s Top Docs, and Castle Connolly Top Doctors®.

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