Publication date: Feb 07, 2020
The opioid epidemic is a healthcare crisis perpetuated by analgesic overprescribing. Despite public health attention on this issue, expectations for pain management and opioid use by plastic surgery patients are poorly understood. This study aimed to evaluate patient expectations of postoperative pain, concern for opioid dependence, and anticipated analgesic plan after plastic surgery.
New patients presenting to an academic plastic surgery clinic were prospectively enrolled from November 2017 to September 2018. These patients completed a preconsultation survey regarding their pain history and anticipated postoperative pain and analgesics regimens. Responses between cohorts expecting and not expecting postoperative opioids were compared using descriptive and univariate analyses.
A total of 168 patients (63.9% female, 36.1% male; mean +/- SD age 46 +/- 17 years) completed the survey before breast (21.9%), cosmetic (5.3%), craniofacial (3.0%), general reconstruction (13.0%), hand (3.0%), and skin and soft tissue (49.1%) surgeries. Twenty-eight percent of patients expected opioid prescriptions. On a standard visual analog scale, patients who expected opioids anticipated greater postoperative pain (6.9 vs 4.6, P
Less than one-third of plastic surgery patients in this study expect opioid pain medications after surgery. This supports broader use of nonopioid, multimodal pain regimens. Identification and management of patient pain expectations, especially among those anticipating a need for opioids, provide a critical opportunity for preoperative education on the benefits of nonopioid analgesics, thus minimizing opiate prescribing.
Long, E.A., Johnson, S.P., Valmadrid, A., Wormer, B.A., Drolet, B.C., and Perdikis, G. Plastic Surgery Patient Expectations for Postoperative Opioid Prescriptions. 04624. 2020 Ann Plast Surg.
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