Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Special Edition: Opioids - January 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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to manage post-op pain without opioids, but that it was also safe and beneficial for patients to do so. During our study, we were shocked to find that patients who didn't receive opioids ambulated easier, report- ed less pain and anxiety, and returned to work sooner. It's been 2 years since I've given any opioids to patients who've undergone mini- mally invasive surgery. Do you think some surgeons overprescribe opioids because it's an easier way to control post-op pain? Yes, but that's not a perception based on reality. Changing a surgeon's prescribing habits is challenging, but it can be done. I've convinced 9 of my colleagues to stop using opioids with monthly emails to let them know how many opioids they prescribed and how their rates compared with other surgeons. I also texted surgeons on the high end of the prescribing list to ask why they weren't cutting back on opioid usage. The persistent communication paid off. Should opioids still be part of effective pain management proto- cols? That needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Do I still give them to patients? Sure. But I've found a vast majority do much better with alternative therapies. An increasing number of patients are aware of the risks associated with opioids, and don't want to take them. That's also been helping to decrease the number of scripts surgeons write. OSM Dr. Davies (daviesbj@upmc.edu) is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and chief of the urology section at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y. N E T • 5 9

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