According to the latest plastic surgery statistics, breast augmentation, breast reduction, abdominoplasty, rhinoplasty and liposuction are the leading cosmetic procedures in the UK. All these cosmetic procedures require either general or local anaesthesia. Your doctor will talk to you about the anaesthetic they’ll use during your procedure. Exparel is a long-lasting local anaesthetic; here’s what you need to know.
What is Exparel?
Exparel is an anaesthetic or numbing medicine that blocks impulses in your body, used as a local anaesthetic for minor surgeries. Exparel is also administered as a nerve blocker after surgery on the upper arm or shoulder to relieve pain. Exparel is not a narcotic or opioid; it only affects the part of the body where you had surgery, unlike opioids that affect the whole body.
During the procedure, the doctor places Exparel into the surgical site. The drug contains specially formulated bupivacaine, an anaesthetic designed to release into the body over a long period to ensure lasting pain relief. Since Exparel works over time, you will need fewer doses of other pain-relieving medications, including opioids.
What Should You Know Before Having Exparel?
You may feel numb and probably can’t move the numbed area for up to 5 days following your procedure. Tell your doctor if you have heart disease, liver disease, heart rhythm disorder or a history of seizures before being treated with Exparel. You also need to share any allergies to numbing medicine. Call your doctor immediately if you develop joint pain, weakness or stiffness in any part of your body after surgery, even months later.
How Long Does Exparel Last?
Exparel helps numb the surgical site. It slowly releases bupivacaine, the local anaesthetic, at the surgical site. This slow release helps the medication give you long-lasting pain relief following your surgery with just a single dose. How long it lasts depends on the amount administered. The numbing feeling may last up to 5 days.
How is Exparel Administered?
The doctor injects the medication directly into the targeted areas of the body. This will be the only time you will receive Exparel, so your doctor will need your consent before proceeding. You will receive the injection at the hospital or surgical setting. Exparel can have delayed or long-lasting effects. For the first 4 days, if you see another doctor or specialist, inform them that you received an Exparel injection.
Important Dosage Information
Exparel is meant for single-dose administration only. When used as a local anaesthetic, the dosage will depend on the volume required to cover the area, the size of the surgical site, and other factors that may impact the safety of the local anaesthetic. All in all, the maximum infiltration dose should not exceed 266 mg (20 mL).
What are the Common Side Effects of Exparel?
Like with any other medication, Exparel comes with a few side effects that may include:
- Red rash
- Breathing difficulties
- Severe dizziness
- Face, tongue, lips and throat swelling
All these side effects may point to an allergic reaction to Exparel. Talk to your doctor if you develop any of the above after your procedure. Other side effects you should report include:
- Drowsiness, anxiety or a general feeling of restlessness
- Ringing in one or both ears
- Vision or speech problems
- Metallic taste in your mouth
- Tingling or numbness around the mouth
- Slow or fast heart rate, shortness of breath or feeling excessively cold or hot
- Twitching, tremors and mood changes
- Ongoing numbness, loss of movement and weakness at the injection site
- Joint stiffness and pain or weakness or weakness in any part of the body months after surgery
Some common side effects of the medication that most people experience include nausea, vomiting, and sometimes fever.
Exparel is a long-lasting local anaesthetic coming to the Harley Clinic. To learn more about our world-class facilities and cosmetic procedures, book a consultation today.