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Taking the Pain Out of Total Joints
Regional anesthesia is improving outcomes in facilities where providers are placing advanced blocks to help patients recover.
Carol Katarsky | Contributing Editor
Publish Date: July 8, 2022   |  Tags:   Pain Management Anesthesia Patient Experience Orthopedics
Regional Block
SET UP FOR SUCCESS Dr. Mike MacKinnon says blocking pain receptors during surgery allows patients to ambulate in recovery and quickly begin rehab programs.   |   Mike MacKinnon

Regional anesthesia has evolved into a game-changer for performing joint replacement procedures. The improved ability to block pain signals around the surgical area for a few hours with a single injection or for a longer duration through continuous infusions allows surgeons to perform these complex surgeries in the outpatient setting. It can also help to improve patient satisfaction.

Employing regional anesthesia is particularly helpful for patients who are likely to suffer from more intense pain due to medical issues or the type of surgery they’re undergoing, according to Edward Mariano, MD, MAS, FASA, a professor of anesthesiology and perioperative pain medicine at Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine and chair of the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Committee on Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. He says joint replacement patients will experience significant discomfort after surgery if their pain is not effectively managed.

Improvements in regional anesthesia practices over the past decade, including the development of new blocks that target nerves closer to the surgical site, allow providers to deliver effective pain relief without the use of opioids and enable patients to be active sooner after surgery. That increased mobility goes hand in hand with Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols, which are increasingly being used to improve patient care.

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