Breakthrough pain nerve block reduces need for opiates after surgery

Health

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — A new surgical nerve block is reducing the need for patients to take opiates after surgery.

Vincent Romano, 72, spent the last two years with severe back and leg pain.

“It got so bad I was dragging one foot the pain in my back went down my leg and I couldn’t even pick it up,” says Romano.

He underwent several back surgeries. Most recently surgeon Girard Girasole of St. Vincent’s Medical Center used a breakthrough surgical nerve block on him instead of opiods for pain.

“He was one of the first guys to have this new block that we’re doing and he required no narcotics which is incredible after the surgery,” says Dr. Girasole.

Doctors told Vincent the block would last three days and he may need to have pain medications for when it wore off.

“I never had any pain. I never took any pain pills and to this day I’ve never taken a pain pill for my back or my neck,” says Romano.

Dr. Girasole says he his team which included Dr. Theresa Bowling were encouraged at Romano’s results and lack of need for pain medication. He was the first patient they used the nerve block on during a back surgery.

“We’re like really excited about this technique because it really helps when your patients after major spine surgery are getting out of bed that night and walking the halls it’s pretty remarkable.”

The doctor says just two years ago when he checked on patients the day after they would be in bed, some crying in pain. Now he says they are up eating breakfast or walking without any pain.

And for Romano this was quite a different experience.

“I’ve gone two years with pain, since my last operation in July I’ve had no pain at all. None. It feels great. I tell you it feels very good,” he says.

Early study results on this nerve block look extremely promising, with patients consuming 85 percent fewer opiates.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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