Are there risks to taking Exparel?

I'm scheduled for a mommy makeover in two weeks. There is an option for Exparel, for pain. Would there be a reason, other than added expense, why I wouldn't exercise this option? Are there risks, using this drug? Are there certain people who should not use it? Thank you in advance.

Doctor Answers 6

Pain Management post Mommy Makover. Exparel an option?

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.  Some offices use Exparel quite a bit, others less so.  Best to talk to your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon as each surgeon will approach the operation and the postoperative management differently. 

Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Talk to your surgeon

You should review your surgeon's specific experience with Exparel and together you and your surgeon can come up with a plan as to whether to use it or not. Best of luck.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews


Thanks for your question. Exparel is local anesthetic (Bupivacaine) and is sometimes used by plastic surgeons for pain associated with tummy tucks. You should feel free to discuss this openly with your plastic surgeon or his or her nurse as to why they recommend this medicine. Best of luck to you. –Dr. Coan

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Exparel risks

Exparel is fantastic with minimal side effects and risk.  I love using it for my tummy tuck patients!

Exparel during mommy makeover.

Exparel is a topical anesthetic of prolonged duration. It has no risks are side effects that other local anesthetics have. It's benefits for abdominoplasty are still being studied.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Are there risks to taking Exparel?

Exparel is local anesthetic (Bupivacaine) which is suspended in a liposomal foam.  This allows the anesthetic to be released slowly, which can result in an anesthetic effect lasting up to 72 hours post op.  As with any local anesthetic, there are dosage limits which if exceeded could result in complications.  Signs of  overdose can include ringing of the ears, restlessness, anxiety, and dizziness. Patients with decreased liver function may not be able to metabolize Exparel as quickly as normal patients and; therefore,may be at increased risk of overdose problems.  Patients who are allergic to Bupivacaine should not be given Exparel.  The medication is expensive but can help with post op pain control for the first 48 to 72 hours post op.  Check with your surgeon to see if they feel Exparel will be a benefit in your case.  Best wishes, Dr Lepore.

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 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.