Patient Satisfaction Remains High Despite Fewer Opioid Prescriptions After Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Opioids Low Back Pain

A new study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that most patients were satisfied with their comfort level after elective surgery even if they were prescribed fewer opioids than others.

According to researchers, 88 percent of respondents reported feeling “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their ability to manage pain after an elective surgery, even if they were prescribed fewer opioids than the standard for that procedure and recovery. To get a better understanding of whether a patient’s post-op comfort level could be met without prescribing as many opioids, researchers looked at the number of medications patients typically used after a given elective procedure, the number of pills left over and the frequency of refills. This allowed them to create three classifications of opioid dosage after elective surgery.

  • Low
  • Standard
  • High

After asking patients about their post-op comfort and overall pain management plan, researchers found that most patients were satisfied even if they were classified into the low dosage group. However, they did note that a small subset of patients did not feel like their post-op pain needs were met, leading researchers to conclude that these patients may benefit from an individualized pain management plan.

Researchers also noted that the study shines a spotlight on the problem of overprescribing and opioid addiction. If most patients can adequately manage discomfort after surgery with fewer pills, it may be worthwhile to reconsider the standard post-op dosage so that patients aren’t as susceptible to opioid dependence and addiction. The study noted that it was estimated that 2.3 million Americans had an opioid use disorder in 2020, and more than 16,000 died from prescription opioid overdose that same year.

Each patient deserves individualized attention when it comes to pain management after an elective surgery, but it’s encouraging to see that we may be able to get by with fewer pills than originally thought. To connect with a doctor who will give you that personalized attention and help you get the care you deserve after elective spine surgery, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.

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