Tummy tucks less painful with new pain blocker Exparel
Mommy makeover patients have a new ally for post-surgery pain control in a new product called Exparel, a long-acting numbing agent. In the last few years the term “mommy makeover” has almost become a household word, no doubt due to the dramatic increase in the number of tummy tucks being done in the past decade. It is due also to a number of improvements in techniques such as the progressive tension suture method, yielding faster recovery times, better scars, and more attractive tummies. But one big deterrent has kept many potential tummy tuck candidates from considering the procedure: painful recovery.
There are two strategies that a surgeon can employ to help patients experience less pain after surgery: numbing agents placed into the surgical site, and narcotic pain medications. In fact, there has been little change in these options for many years, with tummy tuck patients relying on pain pills that often have side-effects such as nausea, constipation, itching, and mental depression. Numbing agents help but before Exparel they only lasted a few hours at best. Exparel uses an existing and well-known numbing agent called bupivacaine, and encapsulates it so that it is released over 3 days. So less pain means less reliance on pain pills, and faster recovery.
Numerous clinical trials have shown the safety and effectiveness of Exparel, which received FDA clearance late last year. It is applicable to a number of surgical procedures but in plastic surgery, it is most useful for tummy tucks and breast augmentation (both often combined as part of the mommy makeover.) Breast reconstruction patients should be particularly benefited too.