Pain Management Following Surgery
A variety of strategies are employed in the early post-operative period by your surgeon and his staff to help you manage your pain following surgery. Most patients are prescribed opioid narcotics to manage their pain. Usually, in addition to narcotics non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as Celebrex, Meloxicam, etc are used to help limit inflammation and help limit the pain. Tylenol, which is also known as Acetaminophen, is also used to supplement your pain. Tylenol can be taken every four hours. However, you cannot exceed three grams of Tylenol per day. It is important to follow this rule to avoid any affect that Tylenol might have on your liver.
While there is a lot of media attention right now on the dangers of opioid addiction it is important especially in the first few weeks to take your narcotic pain medications on a scheduled basis. This will prevent you from “getting behind” on your pain management. In the first few weeks it is important to take your medication and not try to “tough it out”. After a few weeks your surgical pain will start to dissipate and then it is important to start to wean off your pain medication. This should not be done abruptly, but gradually. This will help you manage your pain following your next procedure when your implant is put back in.
As you distance yourself from your surgical procedure, your pain will decrease allowing you to stop taking narcotics during the day. Once you have done this, you may want to take some pain medicine a half-hour to an hour before bedtime to help with sleep.
Cold Therapy is very important to keep down swelling, as well as, help with pain management. Bags of ice or frozen vegetables work very well to help control your pain and limit your swelling. However, it is important that ice not stay on longer than 20 minutes at a time or your skin may be damaged. Alternatively, there are commercial ice machines that can be left on for longer periods of time. These devices circulate cold water through tubes connected to a pad that goes over your incision site. This method can provide longer relief and is most helpful at night. (Websites for these type devices)