What are your thoughts on Exparel?

My question is for someone like myself that suffers from anxiety, the thought of being numb makes me crazy. Does this medicine numb to where you can't feel or is it more like pain relief? I hope this makes sense, I'm having my BA Monday June 6th.

Doctor Answers 7

Exparel works to decrease the pain and need for pain medication

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Exparel is a long acting local anesthetic that will not make you completely numb but will diminish the pain so that pain pills are needed much less often. It's use in the case of a breast augmentation may make the use of pain meds completely unnecessary.  But I agree, it is not necessary.  I do breast augmentation all the time without it because of the added expense and because breast augmentation is not the most painful of procedures. I do use it on every single abdominoplasty I perform because it makes a significant difference In the patient experience. 

With or without exparel your breasts are going to feel weird for a long time. There will be some pain but also numbness, tightness, heaviness and all sorts of weirdness but it will all pass. I would not worry about the exparel but perhaps discuss in detail those other sensory changes you will experience with your surgeon. Because if this is something you are sensitive to, you really need to know what to expect.  

Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 48 reviews


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Hello, thank you for your recent question! Exparel is a excellent local anesthetic that gives the patient an extend release of pain mediction for the next 72 hours.  This medication has helped my patients not take so many oral pain medications, and by doing that it cuts back on some of the negative effects one may have from narcotic pain pills. Best of luck!

What are your thoughts on Exparel

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Thank you for your question and best wishes on your upcoming breast augmentation.  I have found that some patients have an excellent response and need little pain medication in the first 72 hours after their procedure, while other patients report only marginal benefit.  Exparel acts as a long-acting anesthetic and will not make you completely numb.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews


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Your question has several questions in one. 
Anxiety comes in several forms. Being anxious before an exam, interview ir operation is normal but being in a constant state of anxiety is not and neither is a fear of temporary numbness. The latter forms of inexplicable anxiety need to be treated professionally. 
Exparel greatly reduces surgical pain and the need to take pain pills which in themselves cause dizziness, nausea and constipation. 
The use of Exparel greatly improves the recovery after certain operations such as Tummy Tuck and Lower Body Lift. Although not essential, it does improve discomfort after a Breast Augmentation. 
Personally, the choice of using it or not is totally up to you. I strongly feel that you should direct this aspect of your recovery. But, why would anyone opt to have more pain and a slower recovery if they did not have to?

Peter Aldea MD

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon


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exparel is a long acting local anesthetic your breasts will not be completely numb but it does help with pain.  It lasts up to 72 hrs.  I usually use a 4-6  hr local anesthetic which works very well for my patients.  Bottom line your entire breasts will not be numb but it will help with discomfort after surgery.  Best of luck. Make sure your surgery is performed by a board certified plastic surgeon.  

Raymond Jean MD Board certified plastic surgeon Bryn Mawr, Philadelphia PA 

Raymond Jean, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews


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Exparel is a time-released version of a local anesthetic that may provide some relief of discomfort for up to 72 hours.  It will not be so effective that you will be numb but it can reduce the amount of pain that you experience postop.  I think it is helpful although some patients seem to benefit more than others.  Of course everyone has a different sensitivity to pain so the actual effect of the medication is difficult to quantify.  It definitely is not necessary but you should consider it if you want to do what you can to be more comfortable following your procedure.

Richard Kofkoff, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Breast augmentation

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It will help decrease the pain  but will not make you so numb that you will not feel your body.  It is a very nice way to decrease the pain and is expensive.   It is not absolutely necessary so if it makes you super nervous then you don't actually have to use it, but I think you would like it.Good luck! 

Mark T. Boschert, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 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.