As many of you know, pain is almost always guaranteed following surgery. Because there are so many types of pain, it can be very hard to treat. Fortunately, there is a new medication that has recently become commercially available that manages a variety of pain. This medication, known as Exparel, is a non-narcotic slow-release numbing medication. The medication is injection at the surgery site during the procedure, and patients typically experience little to no pain for up to 3 days. This form of treatment typically results in postoperative patients requiring less pain medication. Studies have also found that patients are typically more comfortable and satisfied following their procedure. Decreasing reimbursement rates have forced larger facilities and hospitals to do away with items such as Exparel (high-priced item to keep on hand) despite strong evidence of improved outcomes in patients. Our goal at Lone Star Surgery Center is to promote optimal outcomes while keeping our patient’s happy, and we all agree that a pain free patient is a much happier patient.
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For those of you who are not surgeons, the behind the scenes of what goes on around and during the patient's surgery makes a difference. While large tertiary hospitals are impressive beasts of coordination and services they do not focus on the outpatient experience for the patient because their core business and role, is the care of acute illness and complex highly specialized procedures such as "robotic surgery", Heart surgery and neurological interventions. As medicine becomes more specialized and relies heavier on complex computer aided equipment, the larger hospitals are forced to stay updated by buying increasingly expensive equipment such as intraoperative CT scanners, MRI, 3D aided surgical guidance, endovascular radiology suits, which cost millions. The basic equipment that is used on a day to day basis is often overlooked. It is not uncommon for a surgery in a major hospital to include a Million+ dollar sophisticated machine and an array of 1980s dull surgical scissors.
At smaller surgery centers we focus on the instruments that are used every day. We have sharp new German scissors. We have that surgeon's favorite little needle holder that he/she needs because they are left handed. Big hospitals struggle with these nuances as they are focused on the larger more complex capabilities. This is just one of the reasons why for minor procedures such as what we focus on at LSSC our surgeons would rather operate at a center focused on their individual needs.