Pain Relief Before, During, and After Surgery: No Opiates Needed?


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – One in five people who have been prescribed opioids for pain relief from surgery find themselves struggling to stop taking the drugs long after their physical recovery. Opioid addiction has been called a crisis. There’s now a shift away from opioid painkillers after a procedure.

Total joint replacement, tummy tucks, and lung surgery are some of the most painful procedures. But any surgery can be painful to recover from. The Ohio State University anesthesiologist Michelle Humeidan, MD is leading an initiative to minimize opioids for pain relief. She says patients should start preparing before surgery by taking acetaminophen at home.

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Dr, Humeidan explains, “We kind of load that up in the system in the day or so before surgery, and then that helps us have to give less opiates for their pain control.”

During surgery, doctors use numbing medicine that blocks the pain transmission to the brain and spinal cord. Then after surgery, patients can take over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and use an anesthetic patch, like lidocaine.

Dr. Humeidan adds, “Other types of interventions like heat, ice, elevation – those types of things – those can’t be underestimated.”

She says data shows non-opioid pain management results in less nausea and shorter hospital stays.

Dr. Humeidan says hospital data shows a 50 percent reduction in opioid pain medication use among hospitalized patients and that reduction remains consistent for patients as they recover at home. She says while opiates do have their role, it’s important that they be used as a back-up, instead of first line treatment.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




REPORT:       MB #5205

BACKGROUND: Opioid addiction after surgery is a growing concern in the medical community. Opioids are powerful painkillers that are commonly prescribed to manage post-surgical pain. However, they are also highly addictive and can lead to dependence and misuse if not used properly. Sixty-five percent of drug overdoses occur from opioids. Studies have shown that patients who receive an opioid prescription after a short-term stay, have a 44 percent increased risk for developing an addiction. The main challenge with opioid addiction after surgery is that patients may not be aware of the risks associated with these medications.


DIAGNOSING: Opioid addiction is a medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Diagnosing opioid addiction can be challenging as many people who suffer from this condition may not realize they have a problem or may be reluctant to seek help. However, there are several signs and symptoms that can help diagnose opioid addiction such as physical symptoms, behavioral changes, tolerance and withdrawal, and psychological symptoms.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: Anesthesiologist Michelle Humeidan at The Ohio State University says that non-opioid pain management options can result in less pain, nausea, time at hospital, and cost. Patients are instructed to start by taking acetaminophen at home before the surgery. This creates the ability for our systems to build immunity and have less need for opioid pain control. During the surgeries doctors will use a numbing medicine that blocks pain transmission to other areas of the body. After surgery, patients usually will only need acetaminophen or ibuprofen to deal with pain.



Amanda Harper

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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Michelle Humeidan, MD Anesthesiologist

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