Opioids and Orthopaedics: Addressing Children’s Pain in the Midst of an Opioid Epidemic
University of Maryland Medical Center is a statewide leader for pediatric orthopaedic surgery. Orthopaedic surgeons are known for being frequent opioid prescribers, due to the pain often associated with their procedures, and in light of this, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Orthopaedics, and Director of Pediatric Orthopaedics, Joshua M. Abzug, MD, and his colleagues from the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America evaluated a research study that examines how the current crisis relates to children.
- Among high school seniors, 80% of those who reported non-medical use of prescription opioids previously had legitimate prescriptions, but recreationally used leftover doses.
- It was found that administering gabapentin (a non-opioid, non-narcotic pain medication) to pediatric spinal fusion patients 30 minutes before surgery lowered their total morphine consumption in the recovery room, and for the first two days after surgery. Pain scores were also significantly reduced.
- Postoperatively, acetaminophen and/or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were used, as was conversion from parenteral to enteral analgesia as soon as a diet is able to be tolerated.
In the past two years, physicians from University of Maryland Orthopaedics performed nearly 1,000 pediatric surgeries. They are number one in Maryland for complex hand reconstruction, and offer innovative treatments for the full spectrum of musculoskeletal conditions in adults and children, from spinal deformities to sports injuries and massive rotator cuff tears.
University of Maryland orthopaedic surgeons are board certified, fellowship-trained and Shock Trauma credentialed. As part of an academic medical center, they are heavily involved in research and teaching, in addition to clinical care.
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