Surgeon Wants Additional $400 for Pain Pump for TT or I Can Go Without, is This a Common Practice ?

After much homework I thought I had found the best Dr. for my TT and lipo. During my consult he explained that he places a pain pump in the surgery site for pain management. This was very important to me. When I spoke with his patient rep. I was stunned when she told me it would be an additional $400 for the pain pump the Dr. highly recommended. His web page says, "Dr. ***** uses a pain pump in his patients, which significantly decreases discomfort for the first 3-4 days." Is this common?

Doctor Answers 16

Pain pumps for tummy tucks...

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I use them routinely to allow patients to go home the same day of surgery as it is much cheaper then staying overnight in some facility.   And the pumps do cost over $350 and is a unique additional item needed for your surgery.  It would be appropriate to pass this on to his patients or he could simply increase his fees by the same amount if he uses them on ALL of his patients.

Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Pain Pump after Abdominoplast

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A pain pump bathes the belly wall with anesthetic, easing discomfort and allowing a patient to get up and get moving sooner which minimizes risks for blood clots. We like to use a pain pump in addition to the usual post op medications given. We include the cost of the pain pump in our fees, that way a patient does not have to weigh the benefit of the pump against the cost. 

Pain pump after an abdominoplasty

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A typical ON-Q pain pump cost in the $300 to $400 range.  It is basically a slow infusion of a local anesthetic. Some plastic surgeons advocate their use others do not.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Surgeon Want Additional Fee for Pain Pump

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It is not common practice to use the pain pump.  I find with the post op medications given after surgery, it is not needed.  If you are having any doubts, seek a second opinion prior to your surgery.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Surgeon Wants Additional $400 for Pain Pump for TT or I Can Go Without, is This a Common Practice

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Its use is not as common as we all think. But if your chosen surgeon uses the "pump" in his post operative protocol than I think you would be unhappy not to follow his wishes! Plus another $400 is to cover the costs of the supplies and medications used, which BTW are around $300+/-, seems very reasonable to me. 

Surgeon Wants Additional $400 for Pain Pump for TT or I Can Go Without, is This a Common Practice ?

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             The pain pump is certainly not necessary, and there is a fixed cost associated with it.  Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks and liposuction procedures each year.  Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Pain pumps and abdominoplasty surgery

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As others have stated, the pain pumps are relatively expensive and most plastic surgeons offer them as an option, but at an additional cost. I have also used the long acting local anesthetic Exparel which appears to have similar efficacy. I do not think that most patients really need a pain pump. The pain associated with the tummy tuck surgery is well tolerated by almost all patients with only a few days of narcotic pain medication without the need for pain pumps. I have only found them to be helpful when I have a patient that has a difficult time taking narcotic pain medication or who have developed a tolerance for narcotic medication from previous use. 

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Pain pump or Exparel are GREAT options, but they are options

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I have used pain pumps on my abdominoplasties for over 12 years and LOVE them.  I do charge, because they are expensive, but there is no profit.  Exparel is something I am coming to love as well.  No need for the patient to wear something extra, and it works almost as long.  Costs are comparable.  Patients do have an OPTION of buying them.  I totally think they both are HIGHLY effective and worth it.  Best of luck to you. 

Pain pump costs extra

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Thank you for your question.  Most plastic surgeons do charge for the pain pump but some will include it in the global fee.  Others find that they offer it to their patients and let the patient decide if she is wants the pump or not.  You probably were a little surprised that it was extra because it seemed it was included in the surgery and therefore the fee.  I do not use a pain pump as I find that using a local acting anesthetic that I inject works just as well, avoids the inconvenience of the pump and is less expensive.  Perhaps you can discuss an alternative to the pain pump with your plastic surgeon. I do think that a long acting anesthetic is very beneficial to you while recovering from a tummy tuck, whether it is delivered by local injection at the time of surgery or via pain pump.  Hope this helps.

Tracy Pfeifer, MD, MS

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Pain pumps or Exparel after tummy tuck are worth the cost

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Pain pumps use a reservoir of a numbing medication that is automatically infused into the surgical site through small catheters over a period of days. Another option is a medication called Exparel, which is a slow-release numbing agent that basically works the same way but without the external reservoir and catheters. Both of these have a cost to the surgeon, which is passed on to the patient, but it is worth it in terms of feeling better sooner and recovering faster.

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