Researchers from Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan studied patients to evaluate post-surgery painkiller options.
The researchers studied 620 patients who had surgery for hernia repair, full or partial thyroid removal or gallbladder removal. The patients were divided into two groups.
In one group, patients received an opioid prescription, although most patients did not take all the pills. The second group received presurgery counseling that emphasized nonopioid pain treatment, although two-thirds of the group members did receive an opioid prescription.
Members of both groups reported they were satisfied with their care and post-surgery quality of life. Members of the second group reported less pain overall.
“We know that opioids pose serious risks to patients after surgery,” Dr. Ryan Howard, senior author and surgical resident, said. “We can protect patients from those risks by reducing or eliminating opioids after surgery. But that idea always raises the concern that patients will have uncontrolled pain and feel miserable. This study suggests that’s not the case – patients who get small opioid prescriptions, or even no prescription, are just as satisfied with their recovery after surgery.”
Researchers used data from the Michigan Surgical Quality Consortium. The consortium’s goal is to improve surgical care across Michigan.