If you require surgery, you may have to go under anesthesia and take painkillers during your recovery. What if you were in recovery for opioid addiction? It is crucial to be prepared before going into surgery. Make sure to speak with your doctor to avoid relapsing.

What is the Current Problem with Opioids and Surgery?

Mixing opioid addiction with surgery is a prominent American problem. In countries like Europe and Germany, doctors go out of their way to avoid prescribing opioids. That is why the U.S. is the only country that has declared an opioid crisis. A study from the University of Michigan found that 6.5% of 36,000 patients were still filling opioid prescriptions three months after their medical procedure. This illustrates the importance of seeking alternatives to opioids when having surgery.

What are Alternative Ways to Control Pain During Surgery?

Dr. Eric Chiang, M.D. from Cleveland Clinic, says that you can combine non-narcotic pain medicine from multiple classes. For example, doctors may combine drugs like Tylenol, ketamine, regional anesthesia, and esmolol. This combination can provide pain relief and regulate the heart rate and pressure of a surgery patient – without using opioids. Doctors are also discovering that many surgeries can be done with a nerve block and minimal sedation. A nerve block can also be combined with general anesthesia to decrease your exposure to anesthetics or narcotics. There is no definitive study linking decreased exposure to narcotics with a reduced risk of opioid addiction. Still, new research shows that giving patients narcotics when they are asleep can increase their chances of developing an opioid addiction.

How Can Opioid Prescriptions Be Danger After Surgery?

Overprescribing opioid medications after surgery can increase your chances of addiction. One study showed how some surgeons prescribed 15 painkillers for laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, while others were prescribed 120. The patients, on the other hand, only used six pills or less. Other patients are prescribed opioids weeks before surgery, e.g., hernia operations. This abundance of opioid usage puts patients at significant risk for developing addictions.

What Do You Do For Upcoming Surgery?

If you are scheduled to have surgery, explain to your surgeon that you are in recovery from addiction. Using non-narcotics during surgery can decrease your chances of relapse while still managing your pain.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.