The American opioid epidemic is a very serious problem. About 2.1 million Americans suffer from substance abuse related to prescription opioid pain relievers.
A new University of Michigan Medical School study has even found that people who have minor surgery are nearly as likely to abuse opioid drugs as people who undergo major operations.
The study finds that 5.9 percent of people who undergo minor procedures develop a chronic opioid habit in the three to six months after the procedure. For people who’ve had a major operation, that figure is 6.5 percent.
These numbers show that the type of surgery a person has doesn’t have much of an effect on the likelihood that they will develop a chronic opioid use problem.
In fact, patients continue to use opioids after their surgery for reasons other than the pain from the surgery, according to one of study authors.
A better predictor of a person’s risk for chronic opioid use after having surgery is their prior history of chronic pain. Also, if a person has a history of substance abuse, such as with alcohol or tobacco, he or she is more likely to become a regular user of opioid drugs after surgery.
So what does this mean for your weight loss surgery?
Dr. Dirk understands the risk of opioid addiction. He rarely prescribes opioids after operations, and he watches his patients carefully after their weight loss procedures.
During and after surgery, Dr. Dirk uses various medications to provide pain relief for his patients. Research shows that this approach reduces pain and makes the need for opioids less necessary.
While opioids have an important role to play for surgery patients, it’s very important to make sure that patients don’t become dependent on these drugs. If you’re worried about the risk of opioid use during or after your weight loss surgery, Dr. Dirk is here to help. Contact his office today to schedule a consultation.