What's the Take On: ON-Q® PainBuster® Post-Op Pain Relief System

Seems to me like its a no brainer...to have this? down side?

Doctor Answers 8

Pain pump for Mommy Makeover

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Thank you for your question.  Our office takes post operative pain management seriously.  Our current protocol includes a pain pump, (with numbing medicine), that will instill the numbing medicine in the area for the first three days after abdominoplasty.  Patients typically move off the pain medicine to Tylenol after a few days.  We try to avoid ibuprofen and aspirin products for a couple weeks post op.  Each patient has a different tolerance, but we have found the pain pump to be an effective modality. Best to contact your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon as each surgeon will approach the operation and the post operative management differently.

Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Pain Pump for Mommy makeover Procedures

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I use the pain pump on every tummy tuck surgery I perform.   This helps with post operative pain.  It's a continuous drip for 3-5 days (depending on the pump) which helps the patient during the most difficult days of the recovery.  You will still need to take your oral pain medication as the pain pump is not enough by itself.  The feedback I hear from patients is that they were happy that they had the pain pump.

Pain pump after tummy tuck

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As you can see, there are many surgeons who use the pain pump, and are happy with the results.  Although I have used the pain pump in a few cases, I generally find that the patients do not have a great deal of pain after the tummy tuck, especially if the tummy tuck is done without drains (which, in my experience, cause more pain than the tightening of the muscle.  The pain pump would not help with the pain due to the drains).

Also, as the other surgeons indicate, management of the pain pump does add an extra level of complexity for you after the surgery, and they do not eliminate the pain anyway.  The pain pump tubes do provide an extra pathway for bacteria to potentially enter the area of surgery, and potentially cause an infection.

Further, it has always made me a little nervous sending the patient home with that much anesthetic -- if the pain pump were to malfunction and all of the anesthetic be delivered at one time, the results would probably be very bad (although I have absolutely no knowledge of any case where that has happened, it is the kind of thing that keeps a surgeon awake at night).

All in all, the pain pumps pose additional complexity, keep the incisions open to bacteria, open the possibility for a catastrophic failure, and do not eliminate the pain anyway.  Not a no-brainer, in my opinion.

James Nachbar, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon

Pain pumps and TT

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These help - somewhat.  We've used them for our tummy tucks - and honestly, I had hoped that they would do more than they do, for pain relief.

 Don't expect to be "pain free"...you'll still need prescription-strength pain meds.  But the pain pumps - regardless of the brand - do help somewhat for the first few days.


Good luck with your surgery!

On-Q Painbuster is Great for Mommy Makovers

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The On-Q Painbuster, or any pain pump for that matter, will help you A LOT with pain control after surgery.  The pain pump catheters are placed in areas of the most pain after your Mommy Makeover-  typically the breast area and where your tummy muscles are tightened.  The pain pump doesn't get rid of all of the pain, but it does get rid of a lot of the pain.


Since you're in less pain, you usually don't need as much pain medicine, or narcotics, by mouth.  As you probably know, narcotics may cause drowsiness, constipation, nausea, and other side effects, so the fewer narcotics you can take, the better you will feel. 


Make sure you talk to your plastic surgeon about pain relief after surgery.  Best wishes with your Mommy Makeover!



Roy Kim, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Mommy Makeover and Pain Management

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The use of the On-Q pain pump, along with provided pain medication, should effectively control discomfort so that the patient can move about and sleep as needed. We have been using the pain pump for many years with tremendous patient approval. Good luck.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

On-Q pain pump for less post op discomfort after tummy tuck

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We have been using the On-Q pain pump for several years with tummy tucks (abdominoplasty). It works by slowly infusing numbing medication such as lidocaine into the surgical site for about 3 days, so patients need much less narcotic pain medication and recovery is faster. The disadvatage is that sometimes patients are more active than they should be, and the infusion may mean that drains need to be in a day or two longer. Even with the On-Q, drains typically come out by day 5 because we also use progressive tension sutures which help minimize fluid buildup.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Pain pumps for Mommy makeover

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I use a pain pump with every tummy tuck I perform with a muscular repair. When used properly they greatly reduce the pain. The risk is that if too high a flow rate is chosen seromas can develop. I have not had a problem in this regard however.

On Q is one brand of the product that I have used and works well. There are other pain pump makers as well.


Best Regards,


John Di Saia MD



John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange 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.