Introduction: Excess prescribing of opioid pain medication increases medical costs and the potential for abuse by patients and others. We sought to improve our understanding of postoperative pain and opioid use after scrotal and subinguinal urological surgery to develop a protocol for pain management. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed opioid prescribing and usage in 20 patients undergoing scrotal or subinguinal surgery. Collected data were used to develop a standardized postoperative protocol. This protocol included enhanced pain management education and limiting outpatient opioid prescriptions. Outcomes analysis was then performed for 60 consecutive patients via questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed using the Wilcoxon rank sum test and ANOVA. Linear regression was performed comparing age and narcotic use. Results: Comparison of preprotocol and postprotocol implementation opioid prescriptions and consumption showed a statistically significant decrease in the number of tablets prescribed but no difference in opioid usage. Preprotocol and postprotocol opioid prescription usage was 20 and 10 tablets, respectively, while median usage was 3.5 and 3 tablets, respectively. Conclusions: Evaluation of postoperative pain management revealed excessive prescribing of opioid medications compared to actual usage. Our protocol resulted in a significant decrease in opioid prescribing without compromising management of postoperative pain. Adjunct treatments for pain, including scrotal support, ice packs, elevation and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, may improve postoperative pain control without increasing opioid usage. The combination of enhanced patient education and reduced opioid prescribing may result in decreased opioid use, opioid abuse and medication costs.
- pain management
- quality improvement