Pain Medication Injected into Abdominal Muscle During Tummy Tuck?

I've heard that there is a pain medication that is injected into the abdominal muscles during a tummy tuck and lasts 72 hours. What is it called? Is it commonly used by surgeons?

Doctor Answers 21

Ways to minimize pain after a tummy tuck

Minimizing pain after a tummy tuck is very important in my practice.  This is typically done with oral pain medicine after the procedure, but I also inject numbing medicine into the muscles during the procedure.  This medicine is called marcaine and it's great at minimizing pain immediately after the procedure and for a long period of time afterward.  This way, you can concentrate on healing and getting back to your normal routine instead of worrying about pain control.  Even more, I place drains that are painless when they are removed and all of my stitches are dissolvable.  These things contribute greatly to making the tummy tuck experience as comfortable as possible.  Thank you for your question!  Dr. Schreiber....Baltimore plastic surgeon

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 202 reviews

Exparel for 72 Hour Pain Relief after Tummy Tuck

    Exparel can be injected at the time of closure for 72 hour pain relief.  This can add several hundred dollars to the cost.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Exparel and Tummy Tuck

Exparel is a long acting local anesthetic that can be used with tummy tucks.  It lasts approximately 72 hours.  It can be expensive but if this is something that you are interested in, I would talk to my surgeon and see if they are willing to use it.

Sacha Obaid, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 134 reviews

Anesthetic after tummy tuck

Pain after the tummy tuck procedure is not uncommon, especially if plication (tightening of your abdominal wall has been performed.  Various things can be done to alleviate pain after this procedure.  The local anesthetic bupivacaine may be injected directly into the sheath enveloping the muscles to provide pain relief, usually for up to a day.  Also, the medication Exparel is an extended release, long-acting form of this anesthetic that may last up to 3 days.   Some surgeons may also place pain pumps, which continuously drip this anesthetic atop your abdominal wall to give pain relief for up to 5 days.   All are very effective in controlling some of the pain post-tummy tuck procedure, however,  with a small extra cost involved, but may be worth it.  Hope that this helps!  Thank you for the question!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Longer Lasting Local Anesthesia Used during Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Thank you for the question.

The medication that you are referring to is called Exparel.  This medication is a longer-lasting version of the already  widely used medication Bupivacaine. Exparel  is reported to control pain for up to 72 hours.

 I hope this helps.


Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Exparel Pain med to decrease pain after tummy tuck

In my practice i have never had a patient regret having done this
procedure. But a great outcome requires the patient to follow
directions, and the doctor to give patients a realistic expectation
rather than "sell" the procedure. Not everyone is a great candidate for
every procedure like fancy adds may claim. Also, every doctor has a
different approach that works for him/her. In my office, I tell patents,
back to work in 10 days (take off the weekend on either side of a work
weeks). I tell themyou will walk and shower the next day and there is no restrictions on
walking. I prefer to keep people walking a bit hunched for the first
three days to keep the incision as low as possible. Drains are out about
5-7 days. Increase cardio after two weeks and full workouts after 8
weeks. They may have intercourse (let your body dictate your comfort level) after 3 weeks. In my practice I also give Exparel, a three day anesthetic which helps tremendously with pain. Also, I give free personal training intro sessions and dietetics counseling to get you started on the right path during your dealing. I want the tummy tuck to be just the start of the journey and I
want my patients to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle. Hope this helps.

Raj S. Ambay, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Exparel Great For Tummy Tuck Surgery

If you wish to avoid narcotic pain medications then I recommend the use of Celebrex and Acetominophen (does not make you drowsy) plus intraoperative use of Exparel. Exparel is a very long-acting local anesthetic that lasts approximately 3 or more days following injection and great for Tummy Tucks and other surgeries. Not only does it prevent pain but also most muscle spasms. It lasts the same length of time that a pain pump lasts and will therefore take the place of a pain pump. This means patients can enjoy the same effect of a pain pump, but without any catheters and no pain pump to carry around.
Exparel will be available for those concerned about minimizing discomfort after surgeries such as tummy tuck and breast augmentation.
Exparel costs the same as a pain pump and produces the same result but with less hassle and works great. It is not "Snake Oil".

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Exparel after tummy tuck

The new medication is a form of bupivicaine (marcaine) which we have used to reduce the need for pain medication after the procedure. The result can vary though this long acting local can work up to 72 hours. Definitely something to ask about.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Pain Medication Injected into Abdominal Muscle During Tummy Tuck?

Injections with local anesthetics are frequently injected into the abdominal muscles via the anterior rectus sheath. This helps with postoperative pain whether the 24 or 72 hr solution is used.

Thomas Guillot, MD
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Exparel injected in surgery decreases tummy tuck pain for 3 days

I love Exparel and have been using it since it came out on the market around 6 months ago. My first patient drove herself back to the office the day after surgery to show us something about her dressing. Imagine our shock when she comfortably strolled in! Not everyone has such a complete block, but it cuts the pain by at least half. The drug is not cheap, one vial is around $400 or so, but worth it. I tell patients to remember to take it easy, you forget that you should be relaxing when you have so much less pain! It works great for Breast augmentation (submuscular) as well.

Lisa Cassileth, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 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.