News reporter: …Use to it for the pesky pain after a surgery has some people avoiding going under the knife for cosmetic procedures and some of the drugs used to manage the pain produce some unusual behavior like maybe forgiving major life events.
News reporter: But there is a relatively new drug that will keep patients numbed up days after the procedure, Baton Rouge based plastic surgeon Dr. Anthony Stephens joins us today to talk about something he calls a “game changer” for plastic surgery, so what is this?
Anthony Stephens: I think so, in myprox [?] we’ve been suing this drug called Exparel for about a year now. And if we’re talking about abdominal surgeries, you know where you have pain down the abdominal wall and patients simply can’t take deep breaths, they can’t walk after some of these surgeries, so if we can inject a drug and this is a local anesthetic drug, kind like you’ve been in the emergency room and you’ve had a cut and they’ve numbed you up with lidocaine. Well this is a similar drug a sense that it’s the same injectable kind of thing but it can last up to 96 hours, so patients now can get up actually walk, move around and alleviate some of those problems like pneumonia and probably DVTs which are blood clots in the leg that can go to the lung so I think it’s a game changer in our practice as far as getting these patients up, moving them, decreasing the potential complications and decreasing their pain so they’re much more comfortable even after you know, major abdominal surgery.
News reporter: And it’s fairly simple to give it
Anthony Stephens: well, it is it is. I think it’s very simple to give it’s just as simple as drawing the drug up and injecting it into the abdominal wall during the surgical procedure. It’s a local anesthetic if you will and so you’ve seen here on the pictures that we have that’s actually injecting it into the fascia which is the covering of the muscles if we’re suturing the abdominal wall muscles back together and so it effectively knows that area allowing pain free if you will or decreased amount of narcotics patients will have to take for up to 96 hours, so it’s a major breakthrough I think and pain control when it comes to abdominal plastic and it’s even being used in say breast augmentation that were using it now too. And so I think that with the advent of this new drug we’re going to see less major complications in our surgeries and those studies are ongoing now.
News reporter: Ok and does it work for everyone the same or is it different.
Anthony Stephens: Well, I think everyone is a little different in how, there are effects of it but we’re saying across the board over the last year in our patient population a significant decrease in post-operative pain and we will have these studies ongoing and I bet you that we’ll see decreased amounts of pneumonia and blood clots going to the lungs and so those type of things are huge when you talk about decreasing risk.
News reporter: So it gets patients up and moving.
Anthony Stephens: Absolutely
News reporter: Ok, Dr. Anthony Stephens, thank you so much, you’re watching WBRZ News we’ll be right back.