In general, I have not found pain pumps to be very effective in tummy tucks, although they are in other facets of surgery such as joint surgery in the shoulders and knees. The problem is that as the pain pump distributes the local anesthetic across the abdominal musculature, there are drains nearby trying to prevent a fluid collection from forming that immediately suck it up. Therefore, I have found the $400 or so that a patient would invest in the pain pump really does not change their level of discomfort.
What we have found for the last 12 years is that taking Ibuprofen, 600 mg, three times a day will dramatically decrease the amount of narcotic pain medicine you need thereby making you more comfortable and lessen the side effects of narcotic pain medicine such as constipation and mental fogginess.
I hope this has been a help to you.
Robert D. Wilcox, M.D.
Pain management after tummy tucks...
If your doctor can guarantee it is not needed, sign up with them but get it in writing that your pain will be tolerable with only oral analgesics and they will take care of your pain if it is indeed excessive. I can't provide that guarantee and subsequently use pain pumps but am also in the process of converting to long term injectables that should provide the same relief (at about the same additional cost) but without external devices (pain pump). So ask your surgeon if he/she will consider using Exparel instead of a pain pump.
Pain pumps are very effective in decreasing the need for narcotic pain meds in my patients. From my perspective, the patients with pain pumps get up more easily to ambulate after surgery, which is very important in the prevention of DVT. They can be refilled "off label" giving a great deal of comfort for the first 4 days, by far the most uncomfortable in the recovery process. We offer them to all of our tummy tuck patients at an additional cost and about half get them and half do not. Post op pain perception varies greatly among different individuals and those most worried about pain or who have a history of very poor pain tolerance tend to be most interested in the pump.
Thank you for the question.
In my opinion a pain pump would generate another expense for the patient and it's not really worth it, pain usually subside with the prescribed medication.
Pain pumps are unnecessary inconvenience and expense for tummy tuck
I have never used pain pumps because I don't like to burden my patients with added unnecessary expense in addition to hastle.
Most of times my patients stop needing pain medicine after 2 days and take tylenol after that. Prevailing myth that tummy tucks are painful is not the fact. You do not pain pump. Keep it simple.
Pain control after Tummy Tuck
I have been using OnQ pain pumps after Tummy Tuck for several years now with good results. The only hassle has been carrying the ball around with you right after surgery. Recently, I have also been using a long acting local anesthetic that lasts up to 3 days with excellent pain relief as well.