Pain is something we’ve all felt before — physically, emotionally, mentally. It’s quite the shared human experience, but it can’t always be seen, and it’s something people may even try to hide. For those who’ve felt isolated because of the pain, know that you’re not alone. Every 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. are impacted by chronic pain in their day-to-day lives.
With the emergence of minimally-invasive procedures, medical devices, and Ambulatory Surgery Centers, like Comprehensive Centers For Pain Management, doctors and physicians have continually developed ways to help people manage their pain for the better, and in some cases, completely eradicate it.
What is an ASC?
Comprehensive Centers for Pain Management is a medical practice that offers outpatient procedures, or minimally invasive procedures performed in an Ambulatory Surgery Center, also known as ASC.
ASCs create an environment where doctors can perform surgeries that don’t require patients to be admitted to the hospital afterwards. These facilities provide cheaper and more efficient alternatives to outpatient surgeries, without compromising the quality of care. Patients can oftentimes walk out of an ASC within a few hours after receiving a procedure.
Over the past four decades, this innovative approach to creating more cost-effective, less invasive, and timely surgeries has been gaining traction across the country. There are currently over 5,700 ASCs in the U.S. that provide outpatient procedures.
The first ASC opened in 1970 when two physicians were looking for a more effective way to run hospitals. Dr. Wallace Reed and Dr. John Ford were faced with scheduling delays, limited operating room availability, and challenges getting new equipment, among other mishaps. It wasn’t long before they kickstarted a new practice that would change the way patients and doctors navigate medical care.
Pain doctors at CC4PM in Toledo, Perrysburg, and Oregon can perform a wide variety of minimally-invasive procedures and other pain-management techniques like physical therapy and infusion therapy to help treat all kinds of chronic pain.
What is a Minimally-Invasive Procedure?
The idea of undergoing open surgery can be nerve-wrecking, as it presents a greater risk for complications like major blood loss, infection, and patients can end up spending long periods of time recovering afterwards.
Minimally-invasive procedures can help manage chronic pain with significantly lower risks than open surgery. They can be performed with small incisions and a tiny camera called a laparoscope. These types of surgeries take anywhere between a few minutes to a couple hours, and patients can typically return to normal activities in as little as 24 hours.
Benefits of Minimally-Invasive Procedures
While minimally-invasive procedures cannot be an alternative to open surgery for every condition, and there are still risks involved, one particular benefit which sets them apart is that many of these surgeries are reversible. This allows patients and pain doctors to go through a trial-and-error process to determine what type of treatment is best.
Take back pain for example. Because the spinal cord is a vital part of the body’s central nervous system, pain originating from the back is one of the most common types of chronic pain. Roughly 16 million adults in America suffer from a number of back-related issues.
Spinal stenosis is one condition when nerves in between the vertebrae become pinched.
An open surgical procedure called a laminectomy would remove pieces of bone and ligaments to make more space around the nerves. Pain relief isn’t always guaranteed, and once those bits are removed, they cannot be replaced.
However, a Vertiflex spacer goes in between two vertebrae to remove pressure from the spinal nerves. If a patient doesn’t feel pain relief, the device can be removed or replaced as needed, and other pain condition treatments like steroid injections or a pain pump can be explored.
Not only do minimally-invasive procedures reduce the risks associated with surgeries and give patients multiple options to manage pain, but they can also minimize the need for postoperative opioid prescriptions.
In 2012 at the peak of the opioid epidemic, more than 255 million opioid medications were prescribed to treat severe pain. In an effort to combat the high rate of overdoses and deaths, doctors started looking for ways to reduce the need for strong pain medications. In 2020, the rate of prescriptions reached its lowest point in 15 years at 142 million.
Opioid medicine still plays a prominent role in dealing with pain after surgeries, but performing a minimally-invasive surgery reduces the amount of trauma the body experiences, thus reducing the need for opioids post operation.
At Comprehensive Centers For Pain Management, we recognize that opioids are not the only alternative to post-operative pain, and we can offer multiple solutions to help you manage your pain.