Many patients are concerned about becoming addicted to pain medications they are prescribed after major surgery. In this video Dr. Albright, an orthopedic surgeon from Raleigh, North Carolina, discusses pain management and pain medicine prescribed after orthopedic surgery and joint replacement surgery.
Summary of video:
What kind of pain medications are prescribed after orthopedic surgery?
Orthopedic surgery is extensive surgery involving bone work. After the surgery, there is pain. It is humane for the surgeon to have a plan to best manage the patient’s pain and minimize it.
So, what's the answer?
Percocet, Oxycodone, Norco, Vicodin (which is hydrocodone),Tylenol with codeine, Dilaudid, Hydromorphone, Ultram, Tramadol are some of the common pain medications prescribed to patients following joint replacement surgery. These medications come in a wide range of strengths.
Before the surgery the doctor and patient should discuss the post-operative plan for pain management. It is a serious and important talk.
Some patients have an appropriate fear: Can I get addicted to pain medicines? The quick answer is, no, not right away. Immediately after the surgery medications are needed because there is a legitimate amount of pain. And it's been said if there is true physical pain from surgery - there is no need to worry about addiction with that.
Can drug dependence develop later - weeks or months after surgery? Yes. That's up to your doctor or surgeon and you as the patient to carefully monitor over time. Patients should only take pain medicines when it’s absolutely necessary. The doctor should monitor the patient week by week and figure out if the pain level and the medicines being used are appropriate. Everyone is a little bit different. Everyone's chemistry is a little different. Every surgery is a little different. Pain management is a very personal formula.
There are other things that can be done for pain management. Tylenol, ibuprofen, ice, elevation, and rest can all help with pain management.
Pain management is important for joint replacement surgery because the best results are achieved when the patient is up and moving as quickly as possible.