Exparel® reduces pain after shoulder surgery

Exparel® Reduces Pain After Shoulder Surgery

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Shauna Krieder underwent successful shoulder surgery at MedStar Health.When Derwood, Md., resident Shauna Kreider found out that she would need shoulder surgery, her heart sank. She had had surgery on her other shoulder a year before and knew what to expect—intense pain for days after surgery, followed by a lengthy recovery. And an allergy to many pain medications made her problems even worse.

Shauna had a torn rotator cuff, which is a rip in the group of four muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint, allowing you to lift and rotate your arm. Shauna’s first tear in the left shoulder resulted from an injury; the second tear in the right shoulder was due to deterioration over the years.

Orthopaedic Surgeon Carter Mitchell, MD, was pleased to tell Shauna that this surgery could be different. He would use a medication called Exparel®, which could be administered during surgery and leave her pain-free for three days, allowing her shoulder and arm muscles to relax and prepare for the physical therapy that would follow.

Exparel has recently been approved for shoulder surgery with impressive results. “Exparel controls pain by releasing a numbing medication slowly and directly around the nerves of the shoulder," Dr. Mitchell explains. It has already been used successfully in other orthopedicCarter Mitchell surgery procedures.

Even better, the medication is not an opiate that effects the whole body. In fact, Exparel decreases the amount of pain medications delivered during surgery, which reduces nausea and other unpleasant side effects.

Shauna underwent surgery in December at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center and was thrilled with the results. She vividly remembered the pain that followed for days after her first surgery the year before.

“This time was totally different,” she says. “I took ibuprofen every six hours to decrease inflammation. When the numbness wore off, I had no pain. I didn’t have any of the grogginess that comes with opioids.”

She says she believes that the Exparel helped her regain mobility faster, also. “The body heals so much faster without pain,” she says. “The numbness helped my shoulder and arm muscles relax in the sling. You’re not guarding all the time to protect yourself so your muscles can relax.”

She was able to return to such fun activities as sewing and gardening, as well as resume work as a private duty nurse much faster than before. Shauna, 65, spent 21 years as a nurse in the cardiac surgery unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

“Exparel is wonderful,” Shauna concludes. “Your body heals so much faster without all that pain. It’s the way of the future.”

“This is one more thing we can do for our patients,” Dr. Mitchell adds. “Pain relief is part of treating the whole patient.”

Know the facts about opioids*

  • 99 percent of patients receive opioids for post-surgery pain.
  • 1 out of 15 surgery patients who receive opioids after surgery may develop long-term use and abuse.
  • An estimated 3 million Americans each year will become persistent users of opioids following initial use after surgery.
  • Overall, nearly 9.5 percent of surgical patients who had not been taking opioids before surgery became newly habitual users.
  • 68 percent of people using opiates for non-medical use obtained them from a friend or relative.

*Data from Exparel

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 888-906-7361 or visit MedStarHealth.org/InMotion.

“Exparel controls pain by releasing a numbing medication slowly and directly around the nerves of the shoulder. It has already been used successfully on other orthopedic surgery procedures."

- Carter Mitchell, MD

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