The majority of drug overdose deaths—more than six out of ten—involve an opioid. Our anesthesiology team works to stop pain before it starts, without the use of opioids.
Ninety-one Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. That means that opioids now kill more people than car accidents. Hunt Regional’s medical director for anesthesiology, Romeo Baltazar, MD, is combating that epidemic locally with the use of nerve blocks.
Nerve blocks are performed using the aid of ultrasound to find the nerve. The injection of the nerve block happens before surgery is performed, giving the block time to go to work. By the time the patient is out of surgery, patients are in little to no pain.
The actual process of blocking the pain involves surrounding the nerve with a local anesthetic that can last up to 72 hours. Not only does this prevent pain, it also keeps surgeons from having to insert catheters which are cumbersome and increase the risk of infection.
Nerve blocks can be used for any number of surgeries including shoulder, rotator cuff, arm fractures, abdominal surgery, laparoscopy, port placement, breast surgery, and more. The blocks also help the body recover faster by not introducing it to as much pain medicine which can be difficult for the body to metabolize for example, in the case of a liver transplant or kidney damage.