I need to have multiple orthopedic surgeries, but friends and some doctors are telling me to postpone them because I won’t get pain management in recovery. Is this true? I'm in pain now, but I don't want to be in more pain recovering from surgery. I need a knee replacement, and a synovial joint mass that's compressing my spinal cord needs to be removed. Does anyone have any more information on this? Thank you.
Pain management after surgery in the middle of the ‘opioid crisis’. What to do?
Question posted by RMckin621 on 17 March 2022
Last updated on 9 April 2022
The best way to approach this situation is to discuss what your surgeon plans on prescribing for you post op prior to your surgery. Remember we are all individuals and you may or may not need a refill.
Know what works for you and what doesn’t (if you do know) and ask what the plan will be if your pain is not controlled when you get home.
In my experience with a two level cervical fusion, my Dr sent me home with enough pain meds post op and gave me a refill of a lower strength, but effective pain med when I needed it as it was a long recovery (8-10 weeks). This was during the opiate crisis.
Also, the CDC is in the process of revising their prescribing guidelines for opioids (relaxing them). While some Dr’s may be more conservative, you as a patient must advocate for yourself AND do all the necessary steps to ensure a healthy and positive outcome from your surgeries (e.g.: follow orders, physical therapy, etc). Surgeons know that healing can be delayed without proper pain management post op.
Also, you might ask your surgeon to write you a prescription for a cryotherapy machine- it’s a unit that recirculates very cold water through a tube and through a vinyl wrap that goes around your knee. This can be very helpful in your recovery. It may not be totally covered by insurance, but it will help with inflammation and pain.
Best way to approach it is just by being honest about your pain levels post op depending on how long you are in the hospital. Knee replacement and the removal of the mass compressing your spinal cord are pretty big surgeries - no surgeon is going to let you go home without proper pain management. I understand your fears, however they will best be answered by an open honest conversation with your surgeon. If you feel like they are reluctant to prescribe, seek out a second or third opinion.
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