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Opioid-Free Post-Op Recovery

May 19, 2022

Creating Surgical Recovery Plans That Minimize Addiction While Maximizing Comfort

Angie Scala NP

Nurse Practitioner, Angie Scala, and Registered Nurse, Shruti Lemus, participated in the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons conference in San Diego this year where they met plastic surgeons and aesthetic providers from across the nation. Presented by the industry’s top thought leaders, the seminars focused on opportunities for improvement in the art of plastic surgery.

At the conference, Angie attended Opioid-Free: A Better Way to Recovery presented by Dr. Lawrence Iteld. Dr. Iteld discussed alternative ways to achieve patient comfort and create an effective healing experience without the intensity of opioids. Her experience – combined with this new insight – inspired her to apply her advanced clinical knowledge to her Nurse Practitioner duties.

Downsides of Opioids During Recovery

Angie has witnessed the negative effects that opioids can cause patients to endure. Symptoms like constipation, drowsiness, nausea, and decreased activity can all be caused by opioid use and create setbacks in a surgical patient’s recovery. Medical professionals across fields are transitioning to new care plans that don’t include opioids. There are other ways to minimize pain and make a patient feel at ease without the downsides.

Plastic Surgery Recovery Without Opioids

Comfort in an opioid-free environment

After plastic surgery, pain relief through medication is often necessary. However, the strength of opioids can sometimes be excessive. Alternatives to opioids during post-op recovery include combinations of:

  • Anti-inflammatories (Ibuprofen)
  • Muscle relaxers
  • CNS relaxer (Valium)
  • Neuromodulators for nerve pain
  • Tylenol for pain relief

Like Dr. Iteld, Angie is an advocate for early activity and moving with purpose post-operatively to assist in a quicker and more pain-free recovery. She is also a firm supporter of homeopathic supplements and believes they should be incorporated into all patients’ post-op medication regimens.

Striving to Provide the Best

At Donaldson Plastic Surgery, we want everyone to be the best versions of themselves, and we apply that same principle to our entire practice. Our entire surgical team is continuously educated on the newest ideas in the surgical field. We aim to provide our patients with the best experience possible through the constant improvement of our processes.

Your Customized Recovery

We tailor post-operative regimens to each patient depending on their unique needs. We discuss the post-operative plan with patients, so they are aware of what to expect in terms of instructions and medication. If a patient requires additional pain relief during recovery, then their plan can be altered.

What We Do To Help Prevent Opioid Dependency After Surgery

Dr. Donaldson Explaining Surgery Recovery Without Narcotics

Every patient’s post-op experience is different. Our patient care team will prescribe opioids only if necessary – we want to ensure you are taken care of. However, many patients have reported not needing medication after 1-3 days due to low pain levels. This is due to how meticulous Dr. Donaldson and Dr. Sieffert are during surgery. When surgeons take their time, then recovery is quicker and more easily managed.

Our surgical teams already encourage non-opioid treatments. For example, we use TAP blocks during tummy tuck surgery; this safe, local anesthetic is injected during surgery and acts as a long-lasting pain reliever. We also recommend homeopathic supplements like Arnica Montana or Bromelain tablets to help with swelling, bruising, and pain.

You Can Get Incredible Results & Recover Comfortably

Your pain medication regiment is just one aspect of your customized experience at Donaldson Plastic Surgery. Your surgical journey begins with a personal consultation!


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