How is Pain Managed After Orthopedic Surgery?

This is a huge subject to cover in one blog, so we’ll cover opioids, NSAIDS, and alternative methods of pain management separately.  Dr. Bents recently had a post-operative knee surgery patient complain in the recovery room that she was having pain, saying that she expected not to feel any.  Surgery that involves the cutting of tissues and bones will result in pain, and although the degree to which you feel it varies, Dr. Bents and Dr. Van Horne have protocols to keep you as comfortable as possible.  We will discuss pain management with opioids today, which is what you will typically take right after your surgery when the pain can be moderate to severe.  Top advantages when taking opioids: pain relief is rapid, mobility becomes easier, and increased ability to sleep/rest comfortably.  Most notable disadvantages include: dependency (the biggest concern), constipation, drowsiness, itchiness, nausea, and confusion.  Dependency can happen without you realizing it due to the addictive nature of opioids.  Paragon Orthopedic Center wants you to be on the smallest opioid dose necessary for the fewest days possible to cover your pain to avoid dependency.  You need to follow the instructions from our doctors closely and call Paragon if you have issues outside of your individualized pain protocol.  The doctors act as a team with you and your support system to keep you comfortable, and part of this teamwork is to be honest with the surgeon about whether you use prescription medications before your procedure.  If you use them before your surgery, you might need a higher dose of pain medicine than most people because your body is used to what you are taking, so an honest, open conversation is a must.  Pain coverage is necessary for proper healing, so our surgeons take the time to discuss this for complete clarity before you head into any surgery.  You will get your strength back quicker and get back to your usual activities sooner with good pain control.

Managing Pain With Medications After Orthopaedic Surgery – OrthoInfo – AAOS