The “Pain-Buster” is a postoperative medicine delivery machine that provides continuous pain medicine directly to the surgical site – giving unparalleled pain control. This small machine has, in my opinion, revolutionized the recovery and post-operative pain management after many cosmetic operations. In particular, breast augmentation recovery and tummy tuck recovery have become so much improved with less pain that many patients often can not believe how easy it was to get better. This educational writing will review how the Pain Buster or pain pump works and why it makes such a big difference when recovering from plastic surgery. It was written in response to a question from a patient in Cherry Hill, NJ.
What is the “Pain-Buster” and What Does it Look Like?
The Pain Buster is a medical devise to give a patient a continuous stream of extremely safe numbing medicine. The goal of the device is to provide unparalleled control of pain after surgery. The Pain Buster delivers a safe local anesthetic (Lidocaine) directly to the area where it is needed. This means directly to the stomach muscles for an abdominoplasty or directly beneath the muscle for breast enlargement. The delivery of the medicine is for 72 hours or three days. Most of the pain after the operations are for this time period. Hence the devise gets the patient through and past the worst part of the recovery period. It is “not” a PCA or patient controlled anesthesia machine. These devices deliver narcotics like morphine into the vein. This can be dangerous because of overdose and side effects.
This pain delivery system looks like a compact and neat medicine ball. The patient wears a fanny pack around their waist, that contains the medicine reservoir. This reservoir is round or cylindrical in shape. The medicine is placed into this holding area. Out of the reservoir comes a tiny tube that splits into two tubes. These are extremely small and leave no scar. The tubes have a series of holes at the end that allows the medicine to come out into the desired location. There is a regulator at the beginning of the tube that controls how much medicine comes out at any time. There is also a clip that clamps the tube off that allows it to be shut off if needed. The device is not adjustable. You can not turn it up or down. It is fully automatic.
How Does the “Pain Buster” Work, and What is the Medicine?
The Pain Buster works by a pressure gradient. The ball or reservoir is filled and has a higher pressure than the area inside the breast or abdomen. The regulator allows for the correct amount of medicine to be infused slowly and safely. The pressure change leads to the medicine slowly trickling into the desired location for pain control. A regulator controls how much medicine is delivered. This usually means that about 2-4 cc of lidocaine is delivered per hour. The reservoir ball is connected to the patient by two tubes. These tubes are extremely tiny.
The tubes are placed at the time of the cosmetic operation under sterile condition. The tubes deliver the medicine to the location needed. They have lots of little holes at the end so the medicine trickles out over a wider area. I describe it like a garden “soaker hose.” The tubes allow for the medicine to slowly come out and “soak” or “bathe” the muscles, giving fantastic pain control.
The Pain Buster is filled with a medicine that most people have heard about because of its use in dentistry. The active ingredient is lidocaine, also known as Xylocaine. It was first made by a Swedish chemist named Nils Lofgren. His partner first used it on himself in 1949, and he documented it’s incredible safety. Lidocaine has a proven track record of well over 50 years. The medicine is not a narcotic, which underscores its safety. It has no nausea, vomiting, or constipation side effects. Lidocaine is so safe that they have it in sun burn medications and topical gels for sun burn. It is also in gargles for sore throats. You essentially can drink it, so it can’t harm you.
What are the Advantages to Using it, and Which Operations Work Best with it?
Medical studies with the Pain Buster have shown a more comfortable recovery, quicker return to normal activities, greater mobility, clearer thinking, and faster return to normal bowel habits after surgery. The main advantage is less pain and continuous infusion of a non-narcotic medication. Narcotics can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, malaise, and confusion. They also have tolerance, which means that it works less well with time. The Pain Buster and the extreme safety of lidocaine have led to an incredible reduction in the postoperative pain after surgery. It has in my opinion revolutionized the recover from many operations. The days of hospitals and IV morphine are long gone! The pain reduction is often fantastic as I have stated. But, it is important to understand that it doesn’t work perfectly for everyone. Some patients will have more pain than desired, and it is common to still supplement the pain management with oral pills such as Percocet and or Vicodin.
The best operations to use this is breast augmentation and tummy tuck operations. It is also used when both operations are done together, called a mommy makeover. The lidocaine infusion works wonderfully for breast implants. The medicine bathes the muscle area giving wonderful relief. For the abdominoplasty, the lidocaine trickles onto the muscle repair and leads to a quicker and easier recovery.
Come in for your complimentary consultation. I will review the Pain Buster in detail with you an other aspects of recovery. Consultations are educational and thorough, and the devise and its use with breast enlargement or abdominoplasty will be reviewed completely. Please call for an appointment at your convenience.