Joseph Guettler, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist

userID_11_attachment_GuettlerThe abuse of painkillers is becoming an epidemic and it is imperative that physicians and patients explore alternatives to narcotics for pain management, especially in a post-surgical setting. One of the greatest advancements in terms of effective knee surgeries has been to manage this pain with regional anesthesia.

Until recently, post-surgical pain was primarily treated with narcotics, which may cause undesirable side effects including post-operative nausea and vomiting, sedation and pose the risk of dependence and addiction. My anesthesiologists regularly use regional anesthesia, or nerve blocks, to help control post-operative pain.  I have them perform femoral nerve blocks for surgeries like ACL reconstructions and adductor nerve blocks for routine knee arthroscopies.  These blocks definitely help assist patients with their pain management, and I have witnessed firsthand the benefits of nerve blocks utilizing regional anesthesia, specifically with the ON-Q Pain Relief System. My patients experience fewer narcotic-related side effects and a faster early recovery when compared to narcotics alone.  I truly believe – as I tell my patients – that these nerve blocks have revolutionized early post-operative pain control.

The greatest challenge in performing peripheral nerve blocks is not the actual procedure, but the lack of familiarity amongst most patients and many clinicians. Unfortunately, patients aren’t as aware as they should be regarding the options that are available to them when it comes to post-operative pain control.  Surgeons and anesthesiologists alike need to remain current and “in the loop” when it comes to the most advanced pain control options so that they can offer their patients the best options for post-operative pain control – including regional anesthesia.

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