A tummy tuck is one of the most common cosmetic procedures we perform at Rao Plastic Surgery. A tummy tuck is performed at an outpatient surgery center and is often combined with liposuction.
At Rao Plastic Surgery we have been incorporating Exparel as a way to manage postoperative pain. Exparel is an FDA approved local anesthetic that works similar to other local anesthetic such as those used in a dentist office, but unlike those local anesthetics which typically wear off in a few hours, Exparel lasts for three days. The portion of the tummy tuck that is most responsible for postoperative discomfort is the muscle plication, or tightening. The muscle plication seeks to repair the rectus diastasis that develops during pregnancy. The muscle plication creates a flatter abdominal contour and narrows the waistline. Once the plication is completed I proceed to injecting the local anesthesia. The Exparel is injected around the nerves between the layers of muscle in the abdominal wall.
This dramatically helps with control of postoperative pain. The advantage of incorporating Exparel is that the most discomfort after surgery is in the first day, and with Exparel the local anesthesia effect lasts several days. Another advantage of the Exparel is that it decreases the amount of oral pain medications you need to take, which decreases the likelihood of constipation and nausea. Another advantage of having less discomfort is that you will feel more up to walking, which will decrease the risks of blood clots and pneumonia. The ability to integrate Exparel into our tummy tucks pain control regimen has transformed our patient postoperative experience.