Orthopedic center uses new anesthesia method, $300 doses to cut opioid prescriptions in half

The Centers for Orthopedics in Portland, Maine, has been using a new type of local anesthesia for nearly a year, according to local ABC affiliate WGME.

The practice is using multimodal analgesia — a combination of two or more analgesics — in an effort to address opioid addiction, WGME was told by anesthesiologist Ryan Mountjoy, MD.

With the advent of liposomal bupivacaine, which goes by the brand name Exparel, physicians can extend the duration of nerve blocks for upwards of 50 hours, according to Dr. Mountjoy. Other anesthetics lasted for just 12 hours, he said.

Exparel can cost about $300 per dose, WGME reported, but by using Exparel, the Centers for Orthopedics has cut the number of prescription pain pills it prescribes in half, Dr. Mountjoy said.

The practice's pain specialists prescribe a combination of Tylenol and ibuprofen for postsurgical pain management.

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