Archive February 2015 XVI, No. 2

Post-op Pain Summit

Leading pain management experts predict what analgesic regimens might look like in the not-so-distant future.

Daniel Cook, Executive Editor

post-op patient pain REALISTIC APPROACH Get patients on their outpatient pain regimen as quickly as possible and set reasonable expectations about the discomfort they'll feel.

Pain. It's what patients are likely to remember most about their surgery, regardless of how many times your nurses smiled or how successful the surgical outcome. What can you do to manage the fifth vital sign, so patients are ready for a timely discharge and return to normal life routines as quickly as possible? We chatted with a few of the nation's leading pain experts to find out.

Leading pain management experts open up about why opioids are still overused, the most difficult patients they treat and what analgesic regimens might look like in the not-so-distant future.

Eugene R. Viscusi, MD

Eugene R. Viscusi, MD
Director of Acute Pain Management
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, Pa.

John Stamatos, MD

John Stamatos, MD
Director of Pain Management
North American Partners in Anesthesia
Melville, N.Y.

Mark Snyder, MD

Mark Snyder, MD
Director of the Orthopaedic Center of Excellence
Good Samaritan Hospital
Cincinnati, Ohio

Philip Wagner, MD

Philip Wagner, MD
Co-Director of Acute Pain Services
Hospital for Special Surgery
New York, N.Y.

Are surgeons and anesthesia providers becoming more nuanced in their approach to treating pain?

John Stamatos, MD Without question. We've become more specialized and gotten more comfortable with what we have in our armamentarium of pain-relieving tools. Preemptive analgesia is still the basis for everything. Once someone has pain, it's very difficult to treat. Preventing pain from happening is best practice. By the time patients get to recovery, there's less need for narcotics.

Length of stay and patient satisfaction are the buzzwords in every facility setting. Ignoring the importance of controlling pain puts patients at risk for longer stays and decreased satisfaction. Pain management is absolutely associated with how patients feel about their surgery. Without question, you need to address it. Spending a little more money on the medications to do it right pays off in the long run, because patient satisfaction increases.

Eugene R. Viscusi, MD But we're in a volume-driven specialty and we're definitely in a cost-minimization era of health care where any extra dollar spent has to have a profound effect on patient care. And that's not only based on independent data. Many centers now demand that they see benefits with their own patients before supporting the additional cost for some pain control agents.

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