Tramadol Before Surgery?

Hi. I am scheduled for a tummy tuck and breast lift on 9/19. I currently take tramadol on a daily basis. I have been taking it for years after a bad back injury. I asked my plastic surgeon and anestesiologist and both say it is fine to take even the morning of the surgery. I trust them of course but have read that it can interfere with the meds given during surgery. My dr said " many people having surgery are on pain meds and it's fine' I just would like another opinion... Or 2. :) Thank you.

Doctor Answers 11

Tramadol before mommy makeover surgery

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Thank you for your question.  The best advice you can receive on this matter is from your anesthesiologist, your pain doctor, and your surgeon.  It should be safe to continue taking your Tramadol up to the day of surgery, and into the post-op period.  You and your physicians should also be aware that you may have an increased tolerance to the narcotic pain medicines given for anesthesia and for post-op pain, and modify treatment accordingly.

Speak with your surgeon about pain management.

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Chronic pain is a common problem in our society, and many patients are on pain medications on a regular basis in order to manage their baseline discomfort. This poses a concern for pain control in patients considering an elective procedure.It does not mean that you can’t have surgery, but the post-operative pain may be a little more difficult to control.Being on an opioid pain medicine like Tramadol regularly can “desensitize” you somewhat to its effects, and it may take more of the medicine or a change to a different pain medicine in order to control the surgical pain.In that situation it is important to discuss your medicines and pain with your doctor BEFORE surgery so that you can come up with a plan or strategy of how to handle your pain, and a realistic expectation of how much pain you may experience.Sometimes it is even helpful to see a pain specialist (these are usually anesthesiologists who specialize in pain control) beforehand to avoid a crisis or subject you to too much pain after surgery. If the Tramadol is something you could do without obviously stopping it before surgery would be preferred, but do not substitute Motrin/Ibuprofen or any other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory as they will increase the risk of bleeding with surgery.Most importantly make a plan for pain management with your surgeon and you will have a safer, better surgical experience.

Tramadol before mommy makeover

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In general, most medications you take every day are ok to take the day of surgery (exceptions include medications that increase risk of bleeding). Tramadol should be fine.

Bryan Correa, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon

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Tramadol before surgery

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Thanks for your question.  You did the right thing advising your surgeon and anesthesiologist about all of your medications prior to surgery.  It is not uncommon to administer an anesthetic to a patient taking chronic narcotic pain meds.  The anesthesiologist can adjust the medications required while you are asleep accordingly.  

Tramadol Usage Prior to Surgery

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            It's not unusual for plastic surgeons to perform cosmetic surgery on patients with chronic pain. Many of these patients take Tramadol for their pain. Tramadol is a narcotic pain reliever that’s effective and relatively safe.

             This drug doesn’t effect the clotting mechanisms and for this reason isn’t a contra indication to cosmetic surgery. Occasionally patients who have utilized Tramadol for prolonged periods of time develop tolerance to narcotics. Under these circumstances the dose and type of painkiller may require modification.

            It's important to discuss your use of this drug with your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon should be able to formulate a plan to address your postoperative pain management.


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Tramadol will not have any effect on your surgery or anesthesia. I would follow the anesthesiologist's recommendation as to whether to take it the morning before surgery or not. Best wishes

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 152 reviews

Keep taking tramadol.

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hi. tramadol can be taken as preventive pain medicine. after surgery you can keep taking the same medication. sometimes in combination with others. 

Translation provided by doctor:

hola. tramadol puede ser tomado como analgesia preventiva. despues de la cirugia puedes continuar tomandolo, algunas veces en combinacion con otros analgesicos.

dr jpc

Discontinue Tramadol Before Surgery?

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thank you for the question. Being on Tramadol should not interfere with your surgery. Most medications that are stopped prior to surgery are stopped because on the effects it has on bleeding (increases the risk). Tramadol is an opioid used to treat pain. I agree with the opinions you have received from your physicians. Perhaps you will be able to stay on your Tramadol post operatively for pain relief.

I hope this helps. Good luck.

Tramadol ok before surgery

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Tramadol should not interfere with your surgery or anesthesia. It does not cause increased bleeding. Good luck.

Tramadol and surgery

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Your surgeon and the anesthesiologist's advice seems sound.

This might help you to understand tramadol effects. 

  • Tramadol is an opioid (narcotic) pain killer used for chronic pain like yours and for pain after surgery.
  • It is safer than some other narcotics - it does decrease your breathing, and seems safer for people who smoke, are obese or have damaged liver or kidney function.
  • Because it is a narcotic, you may have a tolerance to narcotics, needing more narcotics than usual during anesthesia and for pain after surgery.
  • Discuss with your surgeon whether after surgery, you should take more tramadol instead of higher doses of another narcotics.

Hope all goes well. Enjoy your result!

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.