I Am Allergic to Codeine. Any Suggestions for Pain Control After Mommy Makeover?

Doctor Answers 82

Non-Narcotic Medication following Mommy Makeover

Most of my patients do fine with non-narcotic medications and Exparel and / or a pain pump. The surgical technique used, anesthesia administered, and intra-operative pain control all will make a significant difference in your comfort during recovery from a mommy makeover. It is also my preference that mommy makeover patients stay overnight with roind the clock medical care the night of surgery. Not every surgeon feels this way, but I beleive patients and their families feel more comfortable and have more peace of mind in tis scenario.  If you are very concerned about discomfort, you could have your mommy makeover performed in stages rather than all at once. Discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon, and speak to other patients about their experience to determine what makes most sense for you.


Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Allergy to Codeine and Plastic Surgery

A history of a bad reaction to codeine is not uncommon.  Usually these patients will do fine with a synthetic such as hydrocodone or oxycodone.  With the use of local anesthetics, most patients require much less narcotic.  Just explain your reactions very carefully with your plastic surgeon.

Dustin L. Reid, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Ultram & Double Strength Tylenol are Great Options

Pain control is extremely important following cosmetic surgery. Patients frequently report allergies to various pain medications and as a result, pain management may require adjustment in the postoperative period.
Most patients who say they are allergic to codeine don’t have a true allergy. They usually have severe nausea, which codeine is notorious for causing.
We typically use a synthetic codeine derivative called Hydrocodone, which has a decreased incidence of nausea compared to codeine.
Examples of prescription Hydrocodone commonly used include Vicodan and Lortab. When these don’t work or patients are allergic to them as well, we use Ultram. We replace narcotic pain relievers with double strength Tylenol as soon as possible following surgery to avoid the potential for drug problems.
Pain tolerance varies from patient to patient and with appropriate care can usually be managed without difficulty. When allergies to pain medications occur, multiple alternatives exist to deal with this problem.

Allergic to Codeine Pain Medications

The allergy to codeine in pain medicines is so common that I rarely use these pain medications in my practice.  Artificial codeine, hydrocodone, is more commonly prescribed and used in products like Vicodin and Lortab and these medications are surprisingly effective on many individuals who cannot tolerate codeine but can tolerate hydrocodone.

Even when I have prescribed the hydrocodone medications, I encourage my patients to as quickly as possible to convert to anti-inflammatory medications like Advil, Nuprin and Motrin which are Ibuprofen products and Alleve which is a different anti-inflammatory product.  These medications actually effect the pain problem itself instead of hiding the symptoms in one's brain and have less side effects.

Never forget the use of ice and cold packs to reduce the amount of pain on almost all areas of the body following surgery.

John K. Long, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Allergic to Codeine. Options for Pain Management Post Mommy Makover

Thank you for your question.  Our office takes post operative pain management seriously.  Our current protocol includes a pain pump, (with numbing medicine), that will instill the numbing medicine in the area for the first three days after abdominoplasty.  Patients typically
move off the pain medicine to Tylenol after a few days.  We try to avoid ibuprofen and aspirin products for a couple weeks post op.  There are options to codeine for pain control. Best to contact your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon as each surgeon will approach the operation and the post operative management differently.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Pain control after a mommy makeover

This is a super important subject for me since if  a patient is not comfortable post-op they will not be able to recover and heal in an ideal manner.  Not to mention who wants to be in a lot of pain?  In generally I use a large amount of long acting "novocaine" (called Marcaine or bupivacaine) during surgery.  I typically give dilaudid as a pain pill to be taken by mouth.  This medication is ideal since it can be combined easily with Tylenol without worrying about combining tylenol in two medications.  For those who are more sensitive to pain (or are having a more uncomfortable operation)  I typically also give lyrica and celebrex.  These two oral non-narcotic pain meds also serve to reduce the discomfort and narcotic need in patients.  Best of luck!

Allergic to codeine

Many patients are allergic to codeine.  For these patients, tramadol usually works well.  Sometimes, Celebrex or a Celebrex-like medication are added for pain relief.  Best of luck. 

Joshua A. Greenwald, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Mommy makeover in pain control

 It really depends on what the allergy is to codeine. Some people have true allergies which involve anaphylaxis, or itching or hives. Other people experience symptoms such as abdominal discomfort,  or nausea. These are not true allergies but are common side effects. While codeine can cause the side effects, it is a very effective pain medicine especially its derivatives such as hydrocodone, and Percocet. If you have had previous surgery you may want to think about what pain medicines have worked for you in the past, and if you can try Motrin or Ultram.  Also remember that a mommy makeover will involve some muscle pain, and tightness which may require some stronger pain medicines.  Good luck!

Kailash Narasimhan, MD
Sherman Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Allergies to codeine

There are other narcotic preparations which you can take for pain control. Use of Exparel and pain pumps will help to decrease the natcotic usage but you will need something to control the rest of the pain. If your allergy is just related to the nausea and vomiting experienced with the use of codeine, there are many anti nausea preparations which can be give prior, during and after surgery to help you.

Susan Kaweski, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Pain control after mommy makeover

There are a variety of different pain medications that can be considered after surgery.  Codeine allergies don't necessarily mean that you will fail to tolerate other medications though.  For people who have a high level of concern about pain, or for those who don't tolerate narcotics very well then I would consider placing a pain pump at the time of surgery.  A pain pump is a device that will slowly infuse local anesthetic through small tubes into the areas that cause the most pain.  Studies have shown that people who use pain pumps require less pain medication.  This can mean less nausea, vomiting, confusion, sleepiness, etc.  The pain pump will last for 3-4 days.  There is usually only a small additional fee to place the pain pump, and it can certainly make your experience better.

Kenton Schoonover, MD
Wichita Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 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.