Doctor turns to opioid-alternative for patients' post-surgery pain

As more and more Americans fall victim to opioid addiction, one local doctor is looking for alternatives to help his ...

Posted: May 15, 2018 5:06 PM
Updated: May 15, 2018 5:06 PM

As more and more Americans fall victim to opioid addiction, one local doctor is looking for alternatives to help his patients with post-surgery pain.

Instead of sending them home with just a bottle full of opioids, Dr. John Malan at Owyhee Oral and Facial Surgery in Nampa and Fruitland is numbing the pain at the point of surgery, lowering the need for prescription painkillers.

Dr. Malan says he knows his surgeries may very well be the first time his young patients are introduced to an opioid prescription - many of whom are getting their wisdom teeth surgically removed.

So far, his mission to lower the number of opioids handed out in the Treasure Valley is proving successful.

"Honestly, I didn't feel any pain the whole time, so that was really, really nice," 21-year-old patient Tyson Smack said.

After many oral and facial surgeries, Dr. Malan is now using a long-acting local anesthetic called Exparel - a shot that numbs the site of surgery for up to three days, helping his patients battle post-op pain.

"So imagine having a painful procedure but not feeling it," Dr. Malan said. "Because instead of masking it in the brain, it's actually masking it at the site - or blocking those pain signals at the site of the surgery."

The local anesthetic prevents facial pain for up to three days after surgery, helping patients make it through the most critical healing process without extreme discomfort.

"After like the first day I could pretty much go back to my normal tasks I was doing," Smack said.

Dental hygienist Alyssa Bicandi was surprisingly pleased after she chose the Exparel route when her 16-year-old daughter needed to get her wisdom teeth removed.

"She never had any problems," Bicandi said. "She never came to me, and I kept asking her, 'Are you uncomfortable?' and it was just, 'No, I'm doing great.'"

After reviewing results over the last six months., Dr. Malan says many patients can stick to simple ice packs and ibuprofen rather than the potentially addictive prescription opioids.

Smack says he never needed the prescription painkillers, so he never took them. "You know, I just didn't feel any pain and so I didn't think it was necessary," he said. Likewise, Bicandi says she didn't even fill the opioid prescription for her daughter, because the local anesthetic knocked out all pain.

Dr. Malan says right now there is just one pharmaceutical company producing Exparel, but it's catching the attention of doctors nationwide. He hopes local anesthetics will become standard practice among oral surgeons to help cut back on the number of prescription pills circulating in the Gem State.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 63723

Reported Deaths: 1739
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin20063845
Ramsey7904270
Dakota4670106
Anoka3891115
Stearns293520
Washington225548
Olmsted180923
Nobles17819
Scott166922
Mower11172
Rice10488
Blue Earth9606
Wright9395
Carver9153
Clay79540
Sherburne75810
Kandiyohi7251
St. Louis63620
Todd4312
Lyon4273
Watonwan3842
Freeborn3651
Nicollet36313
Steele3632
Benton3273
Winona27216
Beltrami2670
Crow Wing26514
McLeod2400
Le Sueur2371
Martin2125
Chisago2111
Otter Tail2094
Goodhue2089
Cottonwood1800
Becker1641
Pipestone1619
Polk1614
Waseca1571
Carlton1490
Itasca14612
Douglas1441
Unassigned14446
Isanti1410
Dodge1360
Pine1320
Murray1251
Chippewa1191
Morrison971
Wabasha970
Faribault930
Brown922
Rock890
Meeker882
Sibley862
Koochiching833
Jackson810
Cass793
Pennington751
Fillmore730
Mille Lacs733
Renville675
Lincoln610
Grant574
Swift571
Roseau530
Yellow Medicine530
Houston490
Pope480
Aitkin421
Norman400
Hubbard370
Kanabec372
Redwood370
Wilkin353
Marshall300
Wadena280
Mahnomen271
Big Stone250
Lake240
Red Lake240
Stevens220
Traverse150
Clearwater140
Lac qui Parle90
Lake of the Woods70
Cook60
Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51101

Reported Deaths: 965
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10800210
Woodbury378354
Black Hawk324566
Linn250389
Johnson216521
Dallas195135
Scott180815
Buena Vista180112
Dubuque177031
Marshall147527
Pottawattamie140029
Story120315
Wapello94336
Muscatine88048
Webster8678
Crawford7433
Cerro Gordo67119
Sioux6713
Warren5972
Tama56129
Plymouth49312
Jasper49028
Wright4851
Clinton4504
Dickinson3874
Louisa37814
Washington30710
Boone2783
Franklin25912
Hamilton2561
Bremer2407
Des Moines2262
Clarke2103
Clay2101
Carroll2082
Emmet1974
Marion1930
Shelby1931
Hardin1890
Floyd1753
Jackson1671
Benton1641
Allamakee1624
Poweshiek1608
Henry1464
Mahaska14417
Guthrie1425
Lee1415
Buchanan1401
Cedar1361
Jones1362
Butler1332
Madison1302
Delaware1291
Humboldt1271
Hancock1252
Lyon1242
Pocahontas1202
Clayton1163
Harrison1161
Cherokee1101
Winnebago1080
Winneshiek1061
Kossuth1020
Page1010
Taylor1000
Iowa981
Palo Alto980
Fayette960
Mills951
Monona931
Calhoun922
Cass901
Jefferson890
Osceola880
Sac870
Grundy861
Mitchell830
Union831
Monroe758
Lucas744
Worth710
Chickasaw620
Davis622
Montgomery624
Howard550
Appanoose533
Fremont450
Greene420
Keokuk411
Van Buren391
Adair380
Ida330
Audubon301
Decatur280
Ringgold241
Wayne211
Adams170
Unassigned50
Rochester
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 67°
Mason City
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
Albert Lea
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Austin
68° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Charles City
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 70°
Sever storm chances return for Friday night
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Marching Band makes adjustments for Covid-19

Image

Virtual Wing Ding for Democrats in Iowa

Image

Improving Relations Between Law Enforcement and Communities

Image

Gov. Walz Calls for Unity After Imam Attacked

Image

Fan challenges Rochester Honkers to a win

Image

Essential Worker Convoy

Image

Olmsted County Election Prep

Image

Move With The Mayor

Image

Princess Kay of The Milky Way Is Crowned

Image

Rochester Events Cancelled

Community Events