Pain Pumps for Pain Control After a Tummy Tuck?

Is it common practice to use "pain pumps" for pain control after a tummy tuck? How well does it assist with pain control?

Doctor Answers 13

Pain pumps for pain control after tummy tuck

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Pain pumps are now very commonly used after tummy tucks.

They deliver a controlled, foolproof amount of local anesthetic (numbing medicine) directly into the area of fascial tightening.  There are no buttons to press.  The medicine is delivered over a period of three days, after which time most patients start to wean off their pain medication.  

Good pain control is not only good for patient comfort; it also prevents splinting and collapse of segments of the lung after surgery, and enables the patient to walk better.  Win-win.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Pain Pumps for Pain Control After a Tummy Tuck?

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These pumps deliver a slow and steady amount of bupivicaine, a local anesthetic, and some feel that it reduces post op pain med requirements. 

I never used them for years, started a year ago, and have stopped as I found little need and no general improvement. 

An alternative to the pump is infection with Exparel, another technology to deliver bupivicaine, which is injected during surgery, lasts 3 days, like the pumps, and is much simpler on the surgeon and patient. I have used it a number of times, but not enough to note any significant difference in pain yet. 

Discuss with your surgeon. But pain management though important is a sideshow--choose your surgeon based on expected outcome. Thanks for your question, all the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Pain pumps effective with Tummy tuck surgery

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We have used the On-Q pain pumps for nearly a decade on tummy tuck surgeries with excellent pain control. Recently, we have begun using Exparel- a long acting numbing medicine with good results as well.

Lawrence Iteld, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

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Pain Control for Tummy Tucks

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I do not use the pain pump in my practice.  I have never seen the need.   Consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to discuss your concerns and expectations.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Pain control for tummy tuck

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An On Q pain pump is a tiny catheter that drips a local anesthetic (numbing medicine) into your surgical site to help minimize your postoperative pain.  The experience with On-Q pain pumps have been mixed.  Some of my colleagues love using them while others have not been pleased with the results.I have been using Naropin for nerve blocks to numb out the muscle tightening from a tummy tuck.  The numbing effects can last up to 24 hours.  More recently, I've started using a new FDA medication called Exparel.  This is a slow release marcaine (numbing medicine) that can last up to 3-4 days.   Please talk to your PS about these different options.

Best of luck.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Pain Pumps for Pain Control After a Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question. Good pain control after tummy tuck is very important for many reasons. Besides the important concern of patient comfort, good pain control allows for better/easier deep breathing exercises and ambulation. These measures may lead to decreased incidences of pulmonary complications and/or thromboembolic phenomenon.

These days plastic surgeons have many options when it comes to pain control after tummy tuck surgery. The use of narcotic medication, muscle relaxants, non-narcotics, pain control pumps, and long-lasting local anesthetics have made the postoperative experience much better than in the past. The specific medications used will vary from one practice to another.

In our practice, all patients undergoing, tummy tuck surgery receive a postoperative pain control pump. I have yet to have a patient complain of the "hassle" factor. In my opinion, there is no demonstrable difference between the use of local anesthesia provided through a pain pump versus long lasting injectable anesthetics. There are certainly no objective studies that demonstrate the superiority of one over the other. Best wishes.

Pain Control After a Tummy Tuck

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We use pain pumps for pain control after tummy tucks. This is similar to having a long acting Novocain after dental surgery. This medication is slowly administered through the body for up to three days; controlling the problem for a long period of time.

Recently, we have begun to utilize an alternative medication, Exparel. This long lasting anesthetic is injected directly into the tissue and has the same longevity as a pain pump --minus the annoyance of a "pump". Patients have been very pleased and comfortable with the pain control with this new medication. All the best -- Dr. Cohen

Pain pumps after tummy tuck.

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I like to use the passive pain pumps (Go pump, On-Q) for tummy tucks. They are not a stand alone solution to the abdominal pain, but I believe that patients do get some relief in the early postoperative period.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Pain pumps after abdominoplasty

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Hello, Pain pumps are a part of "mainstream" management including after tummy tuck. However their effectiveness varies depending on which research study you might read. Pumps will reduce rather than eliminate pain and you can get powerful pain relief from careful injection of the "ab" muscles at the time of surgery - this gives good relief for 12-15 hours without a tube from your tummy to the external pump. Of course 12-15 hours is still short so like many things there is a trade-off. Generally, I can get very good pain control without these devices so I don't routinely use them - but I wouldn't criticise those who do.

The attached link might be of interest. 

Best Wishes

Adrian Knox, MBBS, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon

Pain pumps or Exparel with tummy tucks

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"Pain pumps" such as the On-Q system have been in use for several years with tummy tucks and are very helpful. They infuse a numbing solution into the surgical area through tiny catheters over about 3 days. A newer alternative is Exparel, a slow-release numbing agent that does not require the catheter or reservoir bulb.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 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.