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Postoperative pain control can be challenging in reduction mammaplasty patients. This study compares perioperative liposomal bupivacaine (Exparel; Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc, San Diego, Calif) with standard local anesthetics to determine if liposomal bupivacaine decreases opioid and antiemetic use, impacting length of stay and complication rates, thus improving patient outcomes.
A retrospective review of 170 reduction mammaplasty patients was performed. Patients were divided into groups based on local anesthetic used (bupivacaine only and liposomal bupivacaine) and into subgroups based on obesity classification. Length of hospital stay; pain scores immediately postoperatively, at discharge, and at follow-up; and postoperative analgesics and antiemetics were compared. Further analysis was performed after weight stratification within pre- and postmenopausal categories.
Liposomal bupivacaine resulted in less pain than bupivacaine immediately postoperatively and at discharge in obesity class I (P = 0.021 and P = 0.018). In obesity class II, antiemetic use was lower in the liposomal bupivacaine group (P = 0.012). Length of stay was persistently lower with liposomal bupivacaine for premenopausal women, and this difference was significant in obesity class I (P = 0.038). In premenopausal women, discharge pain scores were lower in the overweight liposomal bupivacaine group (P = 0.034) and analgesic use was lower in obesity class III (P = 0.004).
Liposomal bupivacaine decreases postoperative pain, opioid, and antiemetic use in select patients. Liposomal bupivacaine might not be equally efficacious in pain reduction in obese or postmenopausal women given the theoretical increased absorption by adipose tissue. In addition, liposomal bupivacaine may have a dose-dependent effect, and weight-based dosing should be investigated.

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