Exparel for Post Surgical Pain Relief in Reconstructive Surgery

Exparel is a high-tech new form of a commonly used local anesthetic (bupivicaine/marcine).   It is FDA approved and is catching on quickly with surgeons who want the best for their patients in post surgical pain relief.     I have been fortunate to have been one of the first plastic surgeon in the Bay Area to have used Exparel since April 2012.     Patients who have undergone both cosmetic plastic (breast augmentation, tummy tuck) and reconstructive plastic surgery (breast reconstruction, hand and leg surgery) have benefited from this medication.  It is currently also being used in general surgery (eg: hernia), orthopedics, and other procedures.
Typically, Marcine/Bupivicaine lasts only 6-8 hours after it is injected in the surgical area.  With Exparel– Marcaine + Depofoam technology– it can last up 72 hours.   The most painful time after surgery is within the first 48-72 hours, so the timing is excellent to address this critical time.   In addition, my patients can avoid the use of the “pain pump” which basically infuses marcaine over a period of time, but the inconvenience of the additional tubing and bulbs, and the possibility of this tubing sitting near an implant, is avoided.
Ultimately, using this medication can help significantly with pain relief and decrease the use of narcotics which come with significant side effects — nausea, vomiting, constipation, mood changes, etc.
Exparel is an excellent addition to my practice and I am fortunate to be able to offer this high-tech pain reliever to my patients. Ask your surgeon if you might benefit from Exparel for your next procedure.