Aug 09

Surgery and Opioids

Everyone has read about the opioid epidemic that has become such a serious problem in our society. In the past, opioids have been a common choice for managing surgical pain. Now, surgeons and hospital officials are trying to get surgery patients through operations without ever receiving any of the highly addictive drugs.

Historically, patients undergoing open-incision surgery procedures were given opioids in the operating room, recovery room and even when they were sent home. But now, it is unlikely that a patient who undergoes a surgical procedure would receive anywhere near the number of opioids they were prescribed only a decade ago. Surgery patients may receive a combination of nerve-blocking anesthesia during surgery and then a combination of non-opioid medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and lidocaine to manage recovery pain during their recovery.

Recently, the prestigious Cleveland Clinic has developed a postoperative pain management initiative that looked at using narcotic alternatives and it has shown promising results. A pilot program changed postoperative pain management protocols for patients who undergo cesarean sections. These patients were told that they could still request an opioid if their pain was too great, but within the first month of making the change, opioid use fell by 70%.

Our blog has often pointed to reduction in pain as one of the benefits of laparoscopic surgery. Even complex procedures like gallbladder surgery, gastric bypass or gastric sleeve are now routinely done using laparoscopic surgery techniques. This technology and the skilled staff who use it have already contributed substantially to the reduction in surgery-related opioid use.

If you have any question about general surgery procedures like gallbladder surgery, minimally invasive breast surgery or bariatric surgery (all done via laparoscope), please contact our office. You may use Contact Dr Birkedal or phone us at (386) 210-9794. Our offices, located in Daytona, New Smyrna and Palm Coast are all part of the AdventHealth Medical Group.

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