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Reducing Opioid Use in Endocrine Surgery Through Patient Education and Provider Prescribing Patterns.

Kwan SY, Lancaster E, Dixit A, Inglis-Arkell C, Manuel S, Suh I, Shen WT, Seib CD. Reducing Opioid Use in Endocrine Surgery Through Patient Education and Provider Prescribing Patterns. The Journal of surgical research. 2020 Dec 1; 256:303-310.

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BACKGROUND: Postoperative opioid use can lead to dependence, contributing to the opioid epidemic in the United States. New persistent opioid use after minor surgeries occurs in 5.9% of patients. With increased documentation of persistent opioid use postoperatively, surgeons must pursue interventions to reduce opioid use perioperatively. METHODS: We performed a prospective cohort study to assess the feasibility of a preoperative intervention via patient education or counseling and changes in provider prescribing patterns to reduce postoperative opioid use. We included adult patients undergoing thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy from January 22, 2019 to February 28, 2019 at a tertiary referral, academic endocrine surgery practice. Surveys were administered to assess pain and patient satisfaction postoperatively. Prescription, demographic, and comorbidity data were collected from the electronic health record. RESULTS: Sixty six patients (74.2% women, mean age 58.6 [SD 14.9] y) underwent thyroidectomy (n  =  35), parathyroidectomy (n  =  24), and other cervical endocrine operations (n  =  7). All patients received a preoperative educational intervention in the form of a paper handout. 90.9% of patients were discharged with prescriptions for nonopioid pain medications, and 7.6% were given an opioid prescription on discharge. Among those who received an opioid prescription, the median quantity of opioids prescribed was 135 (IQR 120-150) oral morphine equivalents. On survey, four patients (6.1%) reported any postoperative opioid use, and 94.6% of patients expressed satisfaction with their preoperative education and postoperative pain management. CONCLUSIONS: Clear and standardized education regarding postoperative pain management is feasible and associated with high patient satisfaction. Initiation of such education may support efforts to minimize unnecessary opioid prescriptions in the population undergoing endocrine surgery.

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