Abdominoplasty has traditionally been associated with a significant amount of post-operative pain, which may delay the recovery process. Now, Dr. Geoffrey Leber is offering an innovative pain injection system to patients that provides effective, long-lasting relief after abdominoplasty. Known as Exparel, this injection is quickly becoming the go-to method of pain relief for surgeons across specializations.
Exparel, approved by the FDA in 2011, is an extended-release form of bupivacaine, a non-opioid analgesic specifically designed for post-operative pain. The medication is administered by injection and requires no pump or catheters that can often restrict a patient’s ability to get up and around easily after surgery. A special liposomal structure allows the medication to be slowly released into the body for a prolonged period, offering long-lasting pain relief. While most post-operative analgesics last up to 3-4 hours, a single dose of liposomal bupivacaine is associated with both pain relief for 72 hours and a 45% reduction in total opioid consumption at 72 hours.
Exparel offers a number of benefits for patients after plastic surgery, including:
- Long-lasting pain relief
- The ability to get up and around more quickly after surgery
- Deeper breathing without pain preventing complications of shallow respiration
- No cumbersome pain pump device to worry about
- Less need for opioid drugs and their adverse side effects
- Shorter recovery times
Exparel has been extensively studied to determine both its effectiveness and safety in post-operative patients. In a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons last year, the results indicated Exparel was more effective in managing pain in post-operative patients for a more comfortable recovery process overall.
The study looked at nearly 50 patients who either underwent breast procedures or abdominoplasty. Those patients were asked how many opioid medications they took in combination with Exparel. Patients were also asked to rate the intensity of their post-operative pain as well as their satisfaction with the effectiveness of Exparel.
Overall, patients in the study reported less pain and higher satisfaction with Exparel. They also used fewer opioid medications than typically expected after these types of surgeries. Fewer opioid drugs also mean fewer side effects like dizziness, nausea and constipation, which are frequently seen with opioids but not with analgesics like Exparel.
Dr. Leber has seen positive results of Exparel in his own practice. Patients find the recovery process less than they anticipated, allowing them to get back to regular activities much more quickly. Exparel has provided far more pain relief that an external pain pump. To learn more about Exparel use in plastic surgery, contact Dr. Geoffrey Leber’s office at 480-945-5522 or visit our contact page.