Updated September 24, 2020

Tummy Tuck with Tap Block in Fort Worth

As a board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Emily Kirby has helped hundreds of patients feel more comfortable and confident through tummy tuck surgery. Otherwise known as abdominoplasty, this procedure removes excess skin and fat from the lower abdominal wall and tightens loose abdominal muscles to restore a natural contour to the waist. To help patients better manage postoperative pain, Dr. Kirby now offers TAP blocks to her Fort Worth tummy tuck patients.

What is a TAP block tummy tuck?

A Transversus Abdominis Plane (TAP) nerve block is used during tummy tuck surgery to aid in controlling pain after your procedure. It is an injection of local anesthetic (numbing medication) that numbs the tissues of the lower abdomen from the belly button to the upper thigh. A TAP block prevents the nerves from sending pain signals from your surgical site, thereby reducing pain post-surgery.

How is a TAP block performed?

Proper placement of the TAP block is crucial for ensuring adequate numbing of the nerves that control sensation in the lower abdomen. During the surgery, Dr. Kirby uses ultrasound imaging to visualize your abdominal musculature. She then guides placement of the injection between the appropriate muscle layers of the abdominal wall.

Dr. Kirby Performing a Tap Block Tummy Tuck
Dr. Kirby performing a tap block tummy tuck

How long does the TAP Block last?

Pain relief from a single TAP block should last up to 12-24 hours. A TAP block does not eliminate pain entirely; you will still use additional pain medication after surgery, but patients report using less narcotic pain medication, over a fewer number of days when a TAP block has been performed.

As the TAP block wears off, you may begin to notice increased sensation slowly returning to your abdomen. It is a good idea to take your pain medication before the numbness has worn off fully to ensure you remain as comfortable as possible.

What are the possible risks of a TAP block?

Most complications are rare, but there are some risks associated with a TAP block—as with any injection. Typically, side effects are mild and short-lived, and may include:

  • Infection at the injection site
  • Local anesthetic systemic toxicity (LAST)
  • Puncture of surrounding structures

By choosing a board certified plastic surgeon, these risks can be greatly reduced.

What are the benefits of a TAP block?

Dr. Kirby has found that using a TAP block for tummy tuck patients comes with a number of benefits, including:

  • Feeling less sedated and more alert after surgery
  • Able to be up and walking sooner post-surgery
  • Able to start eating a regular diet earlier after surgery
  • More effective pain control
  • Less constipation caused by narcotic pain medications
  • Less nausea caused by narcotic pain medications

Many of Dr. Kirby’s tummy tuck patients opt for a TAP block to reduce discomfort after surgery so they can get settled at home and start the healing process.

Learn About Your Options

As a board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Kirby can answer your questions and help you decide whether a tummy tuck with a TAP block is right for you. To schedule your private consultation with Dr. Kirby, call our office at 817-292-4200 or contact us online.