Alternatives to Opioids for Post-Surgical Orthopedic Patients

In light of the opioid epidemic gripping America, doctors are pushing to find safer alternatives for pain relief after surgery. While opioids do effectively minimize pain, their effects reach the lungs, brain, and gastrointestinal system and ultimately become addicting. New practices have the ability to replace dangerous opioids with less risky and more productive options.

PRP In Place of Opioids

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a regenerative medicine tool obtained from a patient’s own blood. The blood is processed through a centrifuge that separates and concentrates the blood platelets. Platelets are so powerful because they secrete growth factors and other proteins that regulate healthy cell division, stimulate tissue regeneration, and promote healing beyond what the body can normally achieve.

When platelets are placed into a bit of blood plasma and injected into the site of injury causing pain, they can inhibit inflammation and quickly regenerate the injured part of the body. PRP is an effective and reliable pain relief option because it minimizes inflammation and targets pain at its source; PRP actually initiates tissue repair and even attracts the vital assistance of stem cells that can heal and replace damaged tissue.

Direct Nerve Block

Some anesthesiologists and doctors are encouraging the use of nerve blocks to numb specific parts of the body after orthopedic surgery. They use ultrasound imaging to guide a catheter into spaces where individual nerves can be bathed in bupivacaine, a long-acting numbing agent. This progress makes it possible to eliminate sensations of pain for as long as four days while the most intense discomfort subsides. Direct nerve blocks could replace the need for patients to administer their own morphine while in the hospital. They might even help patients move and walk sooner after surgery.

If you need to undergo orthopedic surgery, it is important that you work with a surgeon in Sarasota County who appreciates the importance of avoiding opioid-based pain relief choices. At Suncoast Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, a team of highly qualified orthopedic doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of athletic and degenerative conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Call (941) 485-1505 to schedule an appointment at a location near you. True pain relief without reliance on opioids is possible.