New Push to Reduce the Need for Prescription Painkillers After Surgery
Monday, March 14, 2022

by Liz Bonis, WKRC

Watch the full interview here.

CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) – As many people go back into the operating room after many elective procedures were delayed due to COVID-19, there’s a new push to reduce the need for prescription painkillers following these surgeries.

With more than 100,000 overdose deaths during the pandemic, there’s a collective effort nationwide to reduce the risk of addiction. One of the places that starts is at a hospital.

It’s being done with the help of what’s called Mako robotic-arm assisted surgery for knee replacement. It allows professionals like Dr. Amelia Wiggins, an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoCincy, to pre-plan the surgery with special imaging. Then, she can perform the operation by guiding the robotic arm to help her precisely remove only the bone and cartilage necessary to replace the joint, without damaging what’s around it.

“It creates less trauma to the knee, so you have less pain,” said Dr. Wiggins. In addition to that, since prescription painkillers often start with use after an injury or painful procedure, her team is now adding extra layers of non-addictive pain protection.

“That’s the other component that we’ve added to our total knee replacements to make sure our patients are comfortable afterwards,” Dr. Wiggins said. “We give specific nerve blocks around the knee, and then in surgery, I put pain medicine behind the knee, like a Novocaine that you get at the dentist. I put that in the back of the knee, and then before we close the knee up, I put pain medicine cream that has multiple pain medications in it to help decrease pain to the surgical site of the knee. It’s been helping a lot.”

Local 12 asked her roughly how long those painkillers last. “The pain is far less these first two to three days, and that’s when patients would usually take the most narcotics," she said. If you’re scheduled for surgery at OrthoCincy or anywhere else, it’s suggested you ask your medical team about these types of pain management plans. For more information, click here, or, for Dr. Wiggins, click here.