Reducing Opioid Addiction Post-Surgery

A highly skilled team of doctors and clinicians at Aiken Regional Medical Centers (ARMC) provides individualized pain relief as you recover from surgery and other serious medical treatments. This includes a plan to transition home comfortably.

Pain management is provided for patients who undergo elective procedures such as joint replacement, mastectomies and other surgeries, and for patients who have suffered an accident or traumatic injury. This type of care, sometimes called acute pain management, typically lasts for a defined recovery time and is different from chronic pain management.

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery

Opioids may not be the best pain management option for all patients. They are highly addictive and have other negative side effects. That's why ARMC initiated the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program, which seeks to reduce the amount of opioids and narcotics given to patients after surgery. This is one way ARMC is working to alleviate the opioid crisis in our region.

ERAS represents a shift in how medications are dispensed. Rather than prescribing opioids simply because they are the most effective at relieving pain, physicians now use other medications or a combination of drugs that will produce the best overall results for the patient. Some of those drugs include CELEBREX®, ENTEREG®, Gabapentin, Robaxin® and Toradol®. By limiting the use of opioids, the chances of patients becoming addicted is lower, and their stay in the hospital is usually shorter because there is no longer a need to manage the side effects of opioids.

The ERAS program has seen tremendous results since being implemented. Opioid prescriptions have been reduced by 90 percent and hospital stays have been cut in half in some cases.

If you are looking to reduce your opioid use after surgery, talk to your doctor prior to surgery to see if the ERAS program is right for you, or to discuss pain management options other than opioids.