Patrick I. Borgen, MD, chair, Department of Surgery, director, Breast Cancer, Maimonides Medical Center, discusses a plan to remove opioids from surgical oncology and the treatment of breast cancer.
Patrick I. Borgen, MD, chair, Department of Surgery, director, Breast Cancer, Maimonides Medical Center, discusses a plan to remove the use of opioids from surgical oncology and the treatment of patients with breast cancer.
As the opioid epidemic continues to plague the United States, those working in healthcare have been working to reduce the use of these drugs, especially in surgical practice. The use of opioids is particularly prominent in the management of patients with breast cancer. When considering diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, as well as reconstruction surgeries, there are over 1 million operations performed annually in the breast cancer space alone, Borgen notes.
At Maimonides Medical Center, an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocol has been implemented; this multimodality approach that incorporates factors such as patient education, nutrition, and maintaining the right temperature during surgery, is an effort to eliminate the need for opioids from postoperative care. Borgen later estimates that at his institution alone, the ERAS protocol can potentially save up to 600 lives from the opioid crisis.