Should Pain Pumps Be Used If One Is Having A Tummy Tuck?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am getting a tummy tuck and flank and thigh liposuction done in a few weeks. Honestly, I don’t have much of a pain tolerance so I am concerned most about that issue. I know I will be getting oral pain medication but my plastic surgeon didn’t mention a pain pump. Should those be used?

A: Pain pumps are a common method employed by some plastic surgeons for postoperative pain control after a tummy tuck. I have not found them particularly useful, however, in my experience because I infiltrate the muscle prior to closure. The main source of pain after a tummy tuck is due to the midline rectus muscle fascial plication, not what is done with the skin. I prefer to place 50cc of a Marcaine and epinephrine solution into the muscles during the procedure. This seems to be as effective as using a pain pump, saves the patient about $250 and avoids additional skin exit holes for the pain pump tubing. That being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using pain pumps also has an additional preventative measure of postoperative pain control.

Dr. Barry Eppley