Exparel, the Best for Pain Control for Tummy Tuck Surgery
by Dr. Miguel Delgado
It has been reported by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) that the amount of patients having abdominoplasty or tummy tuck surgery has increased 79% since 2000, with a 5% increase in 2013 over 2012. I have noted for my practice that tummy tuck surgery is one of the highest rated for patient satisfaction.
My patients do tell me that their biggest concern with the surgery is the hip to hip scar and the discomfort during recovery. Most feel that since the incision line is placed in the panty line and fades well in time, that it is an easy tradeoff for their beautiful flat tummy. The discomfort is another matter, this is major surgery and in the past, the first few days of recovery could be quite uncomfortable. In recent years, however, the pain has been managed quite well with prescription drugs and a pain pump. The pain pump is a device that contained a slow release liquid anesthetic delivering relief through a tube from the pump into the incision. The patient would wear the pump tethered to their body and although it was somewhat awkward and limited movement, provided great relief for the first 72 hours which are known to be the most critical.
Today, we have an even better treatment for pain control for the first 72 hours. Exparel is a one-time use injection that the surgeon administers at the end of surgery. This injection gives the same relief as the pain pump but without the external bulky device, and without the tube that will need to be removed from the incision site. Patients are thrilled with this treatment making their recovery much faster and more comfortable.
Not all surgeons are using Exparel at this time, but as patients hear about it and request it, it will become more common.
View extensive before and after tummy tuck pictures.