An Analgesic Regimen for Opioid Reduction in Elective Plastic Surgery: A Randomized Prospective Study

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Background: Prescription opioid misuse has been recognized as a national epidemic. The implications of this problem are especially important to consider, as postoperative opioid abuse can give rise to true addiction for surgical patients. The concept of enhanced recovery after surgery is increasingly used across various specialties to decrease the overabundance of postoperative opioid use. Methods: This study prospectively examined 143 patients undergoing cosmetic elective surgery. Patients were randomized into one of two groups based on postoperative pain management regimen: multimodal (enhanced recovery after surgery) analgesia or traditional opioid analgesia. Data regarding postoperative pain scores, amount of postoperative opioids consumed, and duration of postoperative pain pill use were analyzed. Results: Multimodal (enhanced recovery after surgery) regimen patients experienced a 13.0 percent reduction in their pain scores after admission to the postanesthesia care unit and a 34.2 percent reduction in pain score at discharge, compared with traditional opioid patients (p = 0.049 and p = 0.0036, respectively). Enhanced recovery after surgery patients experienced a 35 percent reduction in the number of pills taken in the postoperative period and an 18.4 percent reduction in the duration of consumption (p = 0.0007 and p = 0.0539, respectively). Conclusions: The results demonstrate that multimodal postoperative pain management is an important tool for decreasing the amount of opioids prescribed and needed in the postoperative period. The overprescribing of opioids after surgery is a precursor to abuse and the increase in the national opioid reservoir.

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