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Pain medications and wound care

Your surgeon and your anesthesiologist will attempt to make your surgery as comfortable as possible, but it is important to realize that almost all surgery involves some degree of pain. Pain can be controlled with medications, but your mental preparation is often as important as the type of pain medication that you take. If you prepare for the fact that you will experience some pain, but also trust that you and your doctor will be able to control the pain effectively, you will find that the experience can be quite gratifying. In a sense, preparing for an operation is like preparing to run a marathon. You know in advance that there are times when it will be difficult and you will feel like quitting, but if you focus on the goal at the end, it makes the journey much easier.

In terms of the actual medications that are given to you after shoulder surgery, you are likely to have a few choices. After your surgery it often takes several hours for the medication to wear off that was given to make you comfortable during surgery. Once this happens, you will either start to take oral pain medications, or continue to receive pain medications through the IV line. If you are admitted to the hospital, you will often be provided with a PCA (which stands for Patient Controlled Analgesia) pump. This is a machine that provides patient controlled analgesia, which means that you push a button when you want the machine to administer a dose of medication. The machine is programmed so that it will not allow you to receive too much pain medication and most patients are very happy with this type of pain control.

Oral pain medications are either started right after surgery or after a PCA pump has been used for the first 24 hours or so. The most commonly prescribed pain medications after orthopedic surgery contain a mixture of a narcotic substance and a medication like Tylenol. The two most common forms of these medications are Percocet and Lortab. Both of these medications are very good at alleviating pain after an operation but there are a few things to remember. These medications can be habit forming, so doctors try to avoid having their patients take them for long periods of time. Also, if you have been taking narcotic pain medications before your shoulder surgery, then your body will be used to these medications and they may not be very effective. Therefore, most surgeons think that it is a good idea to minimize the amount of narcotic pain medication that patients take for several weeks before shoulder surgery, and they also try to limit the amount of time that a patient takes narcotics after surgery to one or two weeks. It is very important to take the pain medications as they are prescribed. All narcotics can cause nausea in some patients, but avoiding taking them on an empty stomach can minimize this.

There is some evidence to suggest that certain anti-inflammatory medications can help with pain after the operation if they are taken beforehand. These are the COX-2 anti-inflammatory medications that are commonly known of as VIOXX and Celebrex. You should ask your surgeon if he or she recommends taking this kind of medication before and after shoulder surgery.

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