How many prescription pain pills should a patient receive after breast cancer surgery? Or a hernia repair? Or a gallbladder removal?
With the country facing an epidemic of opioid pain medication abuse, the answer should be simple: Just enough to ease patients’ immediate post-surgery pain.
But surgical teams have lacked an evidence-based guide, or even rules of thumb, to help them prescribe powerful opioid pain medications wisely.
A new tool developed at the University of Michigan is now available online for free use by any team that performs 11 common operations. It’s based on data and surveys from surgery patients across the state of Michigan, and on research by U-M researchers who study pain control and surgical quality.