After I Had my MM, One Pain Pump Line Seems to Be Stuck. Can the Line Be Left Inside Me?

I am 10 days post op. My PS doesn't seem to be concerned about the line being stuck. He said I have a few options. 1. Leave it 2. Sedate me & he will pull it 3. Surgically remove it. Is this common? Will the lIne dissolve eventually like a suture?

Doctor Answers 5

Post Operative Retained Pain Pump Tubing

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Thank you for the question. The tubing is placed at the time of surgery, so it is done under sterile technique. If it were to be left in theoretically it should not cause a problem. Having said that, the options your plastic surgeon has given you are good, but I would be in favor of the latter 2, removing it. The tubing is a foreign body which no longer serves a purpose. It will not dissolve on its' own, as it is made from silicone, and can serve as a focus for infection. 

I hope this helps. Good luck.


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Sorry to hear about your problem. Having the tubing left in will not and should not cause you any problems.




Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Pain pump issues like this can be avoided with Exparel

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It sounds like the pain pump tubing will not pull out easily like it normally does.  I have encountered this once after placing hundreds of pain pumps.  There was a knot in the tubing, found when I went back to surgery to remove the piece that broke off when it wouldn't come out easily.  So pulling hard may break it, and you may need surgery to remove the retained piece. It will not dissolve.  Leaving a piece probably wouldn't cause problems, but most people understandably don't like the idea of knowing a piece of material has been left behind in their bodies unnecessarily.  I have now avoided this problem altogether by switching to the sustained release pain medication Exparel which seems to work as good if not better than pain pumps, and without the hassle of the pain pump and its tubing.

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Pain pump

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I would follow the advice of your plastic surgeon who placed the pain pump. He knows where and how it was placed and how to remove it. It will not dissolve like a suture. Discuss the options again with him and choose based on that conversation. 

George W. Weston, MD
Reston Plastic Surgeon

One Pain Pump Line Seems to Be Stuck

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The tubing will not dissolve. Chances are leaving it would not cause a problem, but if it did it would be a much greater problem than taking in out would be.

I would favor the sedation and removal plan, with, if possible the back up to remove it surgically at the same setting.

Thank you for your question, best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.