Is Exparel Really Effective for 72 Hours or is It Just Snake Oil?

I'm curious if Exparel is really as good as the manufacturer claims. Has anyone had extensive experience using this drug? Has your opinion changed for the better or worse over time?

Doctor Answers 9

Is Exparel Really Effective for 72 Hours or is It Just Snake Oil?

I use Exparel on most TT's, and find it quite helpful in reducing pain med needs for the first three days. All the best. 


It is great. I use it all the time. It gives pain relief for 3 days in the appropriate procedures. 

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Is Exparel really effective f or 72 hours?

Hello! Thank you for your question! Exparel is an excellent form of delivery of a local anesthetic, Marcaine. It is delivered within a liposomes form, which is slowly released over a 72 hour period. The injectable form lasts approximately 6 hours. It has significantly reduced postoperative pain as well as the need for postoperative narcotics following surgical procedures. Sometimes a small additional fee is required for it's use, but it's benefits have been great. The pain pumps are excellent as well as they continuously drip the anesthetic within the pocket.

Typically, Exparel is either injected into the surrounding soft tissue/underlying muscle layer or just simply released into the pocket itself. If injected between the ribs, there certainly is a theoretical, and higher, risk of puncturing of the lung. the former methods are more common. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Is Exparel Really Effective for 72 Hours or is It Just Snake Oil?

Dear miss33,

Thank you for your post.  This medication can give good pain relief for 2-3 days, which is when the pain is the worst.  Most patients take none or very little narcotics and feel much better.

Best wishes,

Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews


Exparel is a long acting local anaesthetic that is in a slow release form and helps with pain relief for the about the first three days.


Stephen Salerno

Is Exparel really as effective as advertised?

Exparel is the new long-acting numbing medicine that has been around for about a year. We have extensive experience using it on breast augmentations and tummy tucks. We can say that it has significantly decreased post operative pain in our patients and has lasted about 2-3 days in most of them. On some breast augmentations the patients state that they only required 1-2 doses of oral pain medicine on the night after surgery and perhaps the same amout for the next day or two. Then they went to Tylenol. We highly recommend the use of Exparel.

James Motlagh, MD
Tyler Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Exparel effectiveness

Yes, Exparel is effective for 72 hours and has been used in many different procedures, allowing a decreased need for narcotic analgesics.  It is comprised of a long acting local anesthetic, Bupivacaine, in a liposomal bubble that is released slowly.  I have been quite pleased with the results so far, and will continue to recommend it to my patients in the future.

Daniel J. Pyo, MD
Morristown Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Use of Exparel

Exparel is Marcaine. This is a long acting anesthetic that many of us (plastic surgeons) use frequently, particularly with tummy tucks to reduce post-operative pain.

David Cangello, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Is Exparel Really Effective for 72 Hours of Pain Reduction

Yes, Exparel, a long lasting local anesthetic, has been shown to work for about 3 days after surgery. It may be useful for tummy tucks. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.