Local health care providers working in line with CDC recommendations for reducing opioids

It often eliminates the need for opioids
Healthcare providers look for non-opioid treatments
Posted at 4:28 AM, Mar 04, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In the battle against addiction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proposed new guidelines for prescribing opioid painkillers suggesting doctors should turn to non-opioid therapies first for chronic and acute pain.

Researchers at Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia in Madison have been working on new techniques in line with this recommendation for several years to reduce opioid dependence during and after surgery.

MTSA President Chris Hulin said new advanced technology has allowed doctors and nurses to pinpoint exactly where pain is during surgery. Ultrasound technology is used to place anesthesia, often eliminating the need for prescription narcotics.

Hulin said if patients never have to take an opioid, it reduces their risk of becoming addicted. In turn, it decreases the likelihood of opioid-related deaths.

Research shows about 6% of all surgery patients who are opioid-naive develop a long term problem. That number only increases for belly or knee surgeries to 15%.

Hundreds of nurse anesthetists have been taught the new technique through a fellowship program that are now going back to their own communities to train even more.

"For us to have an impact in California, Oklahoma, across the country and I know patients are being helped from that, it really supports what we want to do here," said Hulin.

MTSA's goal is to make sure people of all populations have access to these techniques. If you or a loved one are worried about the risk of using opioids during a surgery, Hulin said start a conversation ahead of time.

"Don't be scared to have a conversation with your provider. If you’re not hearing the things you want to hear, just talk about it. It’s a good opportunity to set expectations. Have a conversation about post-op pain upfront before you're hurting and you’ll be in a better place with your surgeon," Hulin said.