The opioid epidemic causes over 40,000 deaths each year in the U.S. and surgery is a recognized gateway to persistent opioid use. 7-12% of adults and 5-6% of adolescents develop persistent opioid use following surgery.
Traditionally, opioids are used during and after surgery, to treat surgical pain. Despite advances in non-opioid therapeutics, adoption of non-opioid approaches has been very slow. Shifts in medicine traditionally occur over decades, largely because clinicians struggle to distinguish “change” from “improvement” following adoption of new treatments techniques.