Exparel (liposomal marcaine) is a long-acting anesthetic that is injected at the time of surgery to help with postoperative pain control. We use it at InsideLookMD in Downers Grove, IL in our JCAHO-accredited facility for patients having a tummy tuck or any type of breast surgery. Exparel can last up to 5 days having a local numbing effect where it is injected at the time of surgery. This often results in less of a need for postoperative narcotics, and the associated side effects of narcotic usage (constipation, drowsiness, etc.). Specifically for patients having a tummy tuck with a tightening of the abdominal muscle, the use of Exparel in these patients has allowed for earlier return to full activity and a faster recovery. See this intraoperative video for how the injection is done.
We are all keenly aware of the risks of addiction associated with opioid usage. Recent CDC studies have demonstrated an increased risk of addiction in patients who use narcotics beyond three days postoperatively. Exparel is a non-narcotic with no addictive potential and reduces the need for postoperative narcotics. I have been using Exparel for five years and the results have been remarkable. Patients love the product and are amazed at its effects.
Exparel is expensive. We purchase it for patients but there are additional costs with using it. We typically charge an additional 300-500 dollars for use of the product depending on the areas we are injecting (breast or tummy tuck $300, mommy makeover $500). Unfortunately, some hospital systems have restricted use of the product due to its high cost. Fortunately for patients treated at our private facility at InsideLookMD, we can offer Exparel to any patients that want it. This is a real advantage in terms of a better experience for patients having a tummy tuck or breast surgery.