What is the most common pain medication prescribed when having full tummy tuck and lipo of abdomen, flanks and outer thighs?

Doctor Answers 23

What is the most common pain medication prescribed when having full tummy tuck and lipo of abdomen, flanks, and outer thighs?

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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.  In addition, oral pain medications consisting of Tylenol with a narcotic (usually hydrocodone or oxycodone) are excellent medications to manage postoperative pain following this procedure.  Discuss its access as well as potential use for you with your surgeon. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

What is the most common pain medication prescribed when having full tummy tuck and lipo of abdomen, flanks and outer thighs?

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In my practice, I prescribe the following for tummy tuck and liposuction:
1. antibiotics
2. narcotic pain medication
3. anti-nausea medication
4. muscle relaxant
5. over the counter stool softener to prevent constipation

Good luck and be safe.

John T. Nguyen, MD, FACS, FICS
Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

John Nguyen, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Protocols for tummy tuck recovery

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As you can see, we all have variations of how best to do things.  In my practice, you are asked to do a bowel prep before surgery and will get a narcotic (most commonly Norco), anti-emetic if you want, and muscle relaxant if your muscles are being sutured together.  You can start anti-inflammatories the day after if there are no problems so this could include Celebrex or Motrin.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Pain medications following tummy tuck

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In my practice, I prescribe percocet or vicodin for pain following tummy tuck.  Occasionally a patient may specifically request demerol but it would not be my first choice for post operative pain initially.  

Exparel and Norco

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Thanks for your question. I use Exparel intraoperatively and inject it into the oblique and rectus fascia. I also inject it along the costal margin and incision area. It provides local anesthetic for 3-4 days and this diminishes the amount of Norco (Hydrocodone+Tylenol) needed. I order a dose of Torado at the end of the case. I also place people on around the clock Ibuprofen (breakfast, lunch and dinner). My only problem with this regimen is that some people are too active too quickly. Best of Luck!

M. Scott Haydon, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Pain Meds for Tummy Tuck

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Every surgeon has their preference for pain meds post tummy tuck and other procedures. Probably the most common is a codiene relative (oxycodine or hydrocodone) mixed with acetomenophen (or, occasionally aspirin). However, there are multiple other drugs available. Personally I do not like any of the NSAID's (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) for at least several days as they can cause bleeding under the skin flap. I also do not like the codiene derivitives or other narcotics since they can cause both nausea and constipation, both of which can cause tension on the surgery site and increased discomfort. I, therefore prefer Ultracet (a combination of Tramedol and acetoninophen) snice it is non-narcotic and not a NSAID and does not gererally cause either constipation nor nausea but controlls the pain adequately. I also irregate the area under the flap at the time of surgery with a mixture of drugs that controls much of the discomfort for several days. Others use anesthetic "pain pumps" for the same purpose.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Post Surgical Pain Control

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Typically, I prescribe patients Percocet and encourage a laxitive postop.  All oral narcotics, percocet included, can cause significant constipation.  Constipation can not only be uncomfortable postop, but also dangerous.  Straining can lead to blood pressure swings and muscle tension, which can cause complications.  

Percocet is a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Tylenol).  Percocet seems to be the preferred oral pain medication by my patients.  Of course, any drug allergies are accounted for.  Appropriate changes are always made accordingly.  

Patients should not take Tylenol while taking Percocet at the same time, as there have been reported cases of Tylenol toxicity.

Less often, patients with a history of severe pain intolerance, or a history of chronic pain will be encouraged to see a pain specialist prior to surgery.  

Long acting local anesthetics, like Exparel, can help with postoperative pain control as well.  Antiemetics, like Zofran, can help tremendously with postoperative nausea.  Although there is no such thing as painless surgery, all efforts should be made for post surgical pain control.

It is important to see a board certified plastic surgeon in order to maximize safety, comfort, and results.

Joshua Lampert, MD,FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Most common pain medication prescribed when having full tummy tuck

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Most of us, as you will note below, use either a form of hydrocodone or oxycodone, similar drugs with slightly different strengths. In our office we use a pain pump for abdominoplasty patients that instills a local non-narcotic anesthetic. Whatever they use, most patients are weaning themselves off the narcotics and starting to use Ibuprofen after a few days.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

What is the most common pain medication prescribed when having full tummy tuck and lipo of abdomen, flanks and outer thighs?

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Thank you for your question. as the other surgeons explained.

1. antibiotics
2. narcotic pain medication
3. anti-nausea medication
4. muscle relaxant
5. over the counter stool softener to prevent constipation

Bulent Cihantimur, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Medications for Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

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Thank you for your question. Here are some of the common types of medications prescribed when undergoing these surgeries. Antibiotic, anti-nausea, stool softener (Colace), Norco for the pain, and a muscle relaxer. You may also get a patch to put behind your ear four hours before surgery to prevent nausea. Hope this was helpful, best of luck!Dhaval M. Patel Double board certified Plastic surgeonHoffman Estates Barrington Oakbrook Chicago

Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 100 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.