Are Pain Pumps for TT Recovery Really Worth the Extra Cost?

Are pain pumps for TT recovery really worth the extra cost?

Doctor Answers 22

Pain pumps and tummy tucks

Thank you for your question.  In my practice, I encourage the use of the pain pump after tummy tuck. It is very good for individuals who have a low tolerance for discomfort and/or have a sensitivity to narcotic pain medication.  It can make your recovery for the first 3 days much smoother and would consider it worth it.

Talk to your surgeon about it and see what he/she thinks. Best of Luck.

Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Are pain pumps worth the cost?

I have found that pain pumps are quite worth the extra expense.  I use them only for tummy tucks and have found that patients use less narcotic pain medicine and therefore feel better and are more active after surgery.  I feel that this helps in a quicker recovery.  By the time the pain pump runs out in about 4-5 days, the initial pain has receded substantially and frequently the need for narcotics is just about finished.

Jeffrey E. Kyllo, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Pain Pumps after Tummy Tuck --YES

I have been performing Tummy Tucks for 25 years.  For a long time we did not have the option to use pain pumps.  However, for the past 6+ years I highly recommend them to all of my Tummy Tuck Patients.  I see a huge difference in how quickly patients recover. In summary , pain pumps:

  • decrease pain
  • decrease nausea
  • speed up recovery

I think they are great. 


Ricardo L Rodriguez MD

Baltimore, Maryland


Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Are pain pumps worth the extra cost?

This is an excellent question.  There is quite a diversity of opinions concerning this and some studies report that they do not seem to be effective.  In my experience I have mixed results as well.  I do discuss this with my patients and use it if they wish.  Currently I prefer to use a long acting local anesthesia (bupivicaine) combined with narcotics.  

There is a new drug combination coming out next year that will considerably extend the length of time that the local anesthesia (bupivicaine) will work.   I think that this will significally improve the postoperative course for tummy tuck patients. 

Donald M. Brown, MD (retired)
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Are Pain Pumps for TT Recovery Really Worth the Extra Cost?

Great question! If these devise were FREE than more of us would use them. But the cost is quite excessive. If you can afford the extra expense than I love them, but most patients balk at the additional fees. Also the need of teaching the use can cause additional issues. Finally the extra tube coming out of the incisions can cause other problems. In some patients who desire the extra costs (about $500 to $800), the majority love them. As stated by Drs Rand and Bereka a study has shown no scientific evidence of the improvement vs a oral pain and placebo group. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Pain pump.

It depends on your pain tolerance. I advise them, but it is your choice. A lot of patients state " I didn't think it was working until it ran out, then I realized what it was doing.".

Robert H. Schnarrs, MD
Norfolk Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Pain Pump for Tummy Tuck Patients

Thank you for your question.

You will find that each surgeon has his/her routine.

I personally use the pain pump for each one of my tummy tuck patients - at no extre charge.  Patients have told me that they are happy that they had the pain pump for their recovery.  The tummy tuck surgery involves a relatively rough recovery and I believe that the pain pump is very helpful for the first 3-4 days of recovery (which are normally the most difficult).

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Pain pumps and tummy tucks.

I prefer to use pain pumps in cases of significant diastasis recti and have found that my patients due benefit from them. In my practice, there is no additional cost for the use of a pain pump, however some offices will itemize these pumps within the cost of surgery. I do find that patients tend to use less pain pills when they have the pump, are up and moving quicker, and tend to recover in less time.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Pain pumps and tummy tucks

I find that the patients who use pain pumps have a slightly faster (a few days to even a week or more) return to normal activity and wean from narcotic pills faster than those who do not use the pumps. There is some promise on the horizon for long acting local anesthetic agents to possibly substitute for pain pumps, but for now, I usually recommend them.

Good luck!

Tim Sayed, MD, MBA, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Are Pain Pumps for TT Recovery Really Worth the Extra Cost?Answer:

I have seen a difference in using them, however I do tunnel them under the muscle fascia. I think that just laying them under the skin probably is not as effective…The local probably gets sucked out by the drain!!! We did instant ultrasound on the muscle to see exactly in what we were placing the catheters, but honestly had a time even seeing the small tubes…So for now, all patients get the Pain Pump (On-Q) and they seem to do very well… 


John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 44 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.