Archive October 2019 XX, No. 10

Opioids Are Overplayed

There are smarter, more effective ways to manage post-op pain.

Jared Bilski


Pamela Bevelhymer, RN, BSN, CNOR
THE PERFECT GUIDE Advances in ultrasound-guided technology should lead to more anesthesia providers administering regional blocks to minimize post-op pain.

How long has it been since you last heard about the importance of limiting the use of opioids to manage post-op pain. A few months since your last national conference? A few hours since meeting with your clinical team? A few seconds since reading this article's headline? Opioid-sparing surgery is all the rage, and with good reason. The very real risk of abuse and addiction, and the migration of more complex — and more painful — cases to outpatient ORs make a carefully structured multimodal regimen a virtual necessity if you want to provide cutting-edge patient care that's heavy on pain relief but light on opioids.

Beyond the buzzword

The phrase "multimodal pain management" has been thrown around often in recent years, so it's easy to lose track of what it actually means. From an outpatient perspective, a multimodal approach to analgesia can be boiled down to attacking pain with a combination of methods.

  • Interventional techniques, including spinal anesthesia and ultrasound-guided peripheral nerve blocks are among the most effective opioid-sparing analgesic tactics outpatient facilities have at their disposal.

"If there's an opportunity to do regional anesthesia for patients, we're going to take it," says Curtis Choice, MD, MS, director of anesthesiology at Montefiore Hutch-inson Metro ASC in the Bronx, N.Y.

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