From a news story on WBTW News 13 with
Nicholas White, MD
Pee Dee Surgical Group
Opioids can grab hold of a person with addition after only five days. As a result, reducing pain medication after surgery helps reduce the chance of addiction and the overall opioid crisis.
WBTW News 13’s Meghan Miller recently interview McLeod General Surgeon Nicholas White, MD explored how robotic-assisted surgery cuts opioid use:[NOTE: Some of the images in the story are graphic.]
Here’s a transcript of the story:
REPORTER: When it comes to the opioid crisis, some people have their first experience with them after surgery. It’s a gateway to possible addiction. Now evolving technology in local operating rooms could help reverse that potential.
News 13’s Meghan Miller reports:
MILLER: Mark Scotts’ right back in his gym routine after getting a hernia repaired earlier this year.
SCOTT: As far as doing some things in the gym—I knew better, because I knew what was going on.
MILLER: He got an opioid prescription after surgery but…
SCOTT: I didn’t take the first pill. I threw them away.
MILLER: All he needed was Advil. And that’s because his surgeon used the less invasive robotic-assisted surgery.
DR. WHITE: Technology allows us to work in a very small space with very precise instruments. The robot translates everything into a 3D image. It’s almost like I’m inside the patient’s abdomen.
MILLER: McLeod Health’s Dr. Nicholas White says the robot causes less internal trauma than traditional open surgery. He’s found it leads to less pain, shorter hospital stays and easier recoveries [for the patients] and changes in the way doctors prescribe post-operative pain killers.elath’s DoHealth
DR. WHITE: It’s been very interesting. I’ve been recording my data over the last year-and-a-half and we’ve seen that there’s less narcotics usage.
MILLER: A University of Michigan Institute for Health Care Policy Innovation study found that the most common post-surgical complication is becoming a new chronic opioid user. Researchers found that 92% of patients had leftover opioids after a common operation. Dr. White dropped his typical prescriptions for post-op patients like Scott from 21 to 15 pills – and says he could cut that number even further.
DR. WHITE: A lot of patients come back to the office and says, “I have all these pills left.” And I tell them to take the leftover pills to their local pharmacy.
MILLER: Both doctors and our local police think that these surgeries and smaller prescriptions could impact first-time use and also the number of pills getting into the wrong hands, turning up on our streets and fueling the opioid epidemic.
SCOTT: I just wanted my body to health as naturally as possible.
MILLER: His doctor did tell him his experience with robotic-assisted surgery would be a different one. And when it came to managing his pain, Scott says they were right.
SCOTT: It can very quickly get out of hand. Knowing that, I wasn’t going to go down that road at all.
MILLER: Dr. White says post-operative prescriptions are usually meant to be used only for a short period of time. That’s why he sets pain expectations with his patients ahead of surgery. Experts recommend sticking to the lowest dose possible for the fewest days.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
McLeod surgeon can perform robotic-assisted procedures for general, gynecology and cardiothoracic surgery.
To find a surgeon using the robotic-assisted approach, click here.