What are my post operative pain medication non-narcotic options? (Photo)

I am 6 weeks out and wondering about pain medication. I have had 4 c-sections and respond terrible to narcotics. I just stuck with Motrin and Tylenol and binder around the clock. I vomit- non stop- even with zofran on board until the Medicine is out of my system. I have tried tordal- pills though- and felt like it did very little. I am going to ask my surgeron about Exparel injection. I am wondering what my other options are. I am having a drainless tummy tuck with liposuction and muscle repair.

Doctor Answers 5

TAP block with Exparel to minimize tummy tuck pain

I would definitely recommend a long acting numbing agent like Exparel, and a technique called the TAP block for placement of the Exparel seems to be even more effective.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Pain management after tummy tuck

Thanks for your question. It's great that you are considering a good pain control plan prior to your surgery. 

Be sure to discuss this with your surgeon since there are different things that can be done for a patient with your history of problems with pain medications. 

Some options include using Exparel (long acting local) and an On-Q pain pump. Other options may include doing a TAP nerve block. These things will likely add some cost to your procedure, but it will likely be worth it if you'd had such issues with narcotics in the past. 

Best wishes,

Dr. Blagg

Austin, TX

Non-Narcotic Pain Control After Tummy Tuck

Congratulations on your decision to undergo Tummy Tuck.

A number of options are available to minimize postoperative discomfort after Tummy Tuck. We have had great success using an anesthetic infusion pump. This simple and elegant device continuously drips local anesthetic into the area of surgery for a few days post-op.  A very thin catheter is placed during surgery and is easily removed, typically 3 - 5 days post-op. We use a device that has a button for giving an additionalelf-administered  booster dose.

Exparel is another option to discuss with your surgeon.

Celebrex or Lyrica may be alternative or supplemental pain control men's.

I have found that my patients benefit greatly from the use of a motorized hospital bed for the first week post-op. These can be rented and delivered to your home for a reasonable cost, allowing you to set up in your family room or living room, so you won't have to climb stairs right after your procedure.

I hope these suggestions are helpful!

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Pain control after Tummy Tuck

There are lots of options for pain control during and after tummy tuck, and we as surgeons are getting better at managing our patients' pain without so much narcotic use, thereby trying to avoid some of the side effects such as nausea, itching and constipation.

Here are some options you can discuss with your surgeon:

  • Preop pain meds such as celebrex, tylenol and gabapentin, given before the surgery starts
  • Nerve blocks such as TAP block- very effective in my experience
  • Exparel, if available
  • Scheduled tylenol and celebrex after surgery
  • Avoidance of drains - quilting sutures instead
  • Newer anti-nausea meds such as Emend

All of these options have improved the tummy tuck pain experience and significantly decreased the need for narcotics in my patients.

Best wishes-

Post Op Pain Management Options


There are certainly non-narcotic options for pain relief. Many of my patients who dislike the feeling that narcotics give them prefer extra strength Tylenol alone after surgery. I use a long-acting anaesthetic injected into the tissues to alleviate immediate post op pain and ensure this wears off gradually. I recommend that you talk with your Plastic Surgeon about your concerns and your options so they will customise a plan for you.

All the best

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.