Tummy Tuck Recovery Advertised by Some Surgeons: the On-Q Anesthetic System ?

This is advertised by some surgeons for Tummy Tucks and I want o know if this is standard practice ? And some people advertising just for the heck of it if not why is this better of at all. See blurb below: On-Q anesthetic system with all tummy tuck procedures which dramatically reduces discomfort following your abdominoplasty; a local anesthetic solution is continuously administered through tiny catheters for several days after the tummy tuck procedure. Thanks for your answer in advance.

Doctor Answers 7

Pain pump should not be a deciding factor

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Thank you for your question.  You should choose to have the tummy tuck that you and your  plastic surgeon have agreed that will provide you the best result.  A pain pump, one brand of which is OnQ, is used by some plastic surgeons to help reduce post-operative discomfort.  I have used it in the past but do not use it currently as I did not honestly think it made enough of a difference.  

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Better than pain pump

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I loved the pain pump -- however, we now have a new drug which is a version of an older local anesthetic that gives THREE days of anesthesia. As the case is ending, I inject this local where I would have put a pain pump and now, the patient has only minor discomfort for the first 2 1/2 to three days.

After that the oral meds work well. For my patients this has worked well and avoided the inconvenience of carrying around the pain pump.

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

On-Q pump...

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I just never found it worth the investment and neither did my patients. However, ultimately it is up to you and your surgeon to decide. My thinking is...the less tubes, the simpler  the better. Most of my patients are up walking around the next day in any event.


hope this helps,


Dr. Michael in Miami

On-Q pain pump does not help in tummy tuck.

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A controlled study showed that it did not decrease discomfort.  So we no longer use it.  It is useful to infiltrate the tissues with local anesthesia at the end of the procedure.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Pain pump

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I have used these pumps for several years. One nurse anesthetist I used it on said she felt a difference when it ran out. I also inject the fascia (the muscle gristle which is stitched inside to flatten the abdomen) with long acting local (Ropivacaine) which helps in the 6 to 8 hours after the procedure and that has helped too. Of course, we also write a prescription for oral pain medication.

Victor Au, MD (retired)
Chapel Hill Plastic Surgeon

On-Q one method of reducing surgical discomfort after tummy tuck

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The idea of the On-Q system is to provide a numbing effect to block the pain so you don't need to take as many pain pills, which have a number of side-effects such as nausea and constipation. I have used the On-Q for several years and it does lessen the discomfort after abdominoplasty, and patients seem to recover faster as a result. Another newer method is a drug called Exparel, which is s sustained release formulation of a numbing agent that lasts about 3 days. It has a similar effect as an On-Q but without the need for the catheter and external reservoir.

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

Tummy Tuck And Use of Pain Pump?

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Thank you for the question.

Pain pumps are used by some plastic surgeons for postoperative pain control. Some plastic surgeons ( like myself) feel that they make a difference; some plastic surgeons do not feel that the pain pumps make a difference in postoperative pain management.

I do not think that the use of pain pump ( or not) it should be a major factor in patient selection of plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps.

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.