American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Controlling pain helps to speed recovery following your operation. Your surgical team wants to help you to safely and effectively manage any pain that you may have after surgery. “Safe pain control” means using medication and other therapies to control pain with the least amount of side effects. This section of the American College of Surgeons website has been developed so you can learn more about safe pain control after your operation. If you have any questions after reading through this material, don’t hesitate to ask your surgeon.

Common Questions

What is safe and effective pain control?

What is the goal of pain control?

What are my options for safe and effective pain control?

How do I know what to take to feel better?

What are the most common pain control therapies and medications?

How can I safely use opioids to manage my severe pain?

Can I wait to fill my opioid prescription?

How do I store and get rid of my leftover opioids?

Should I worry about becoming addicted to opioids?

Patient Tools

Safe and Effective Pain Control After Surgery brochure

My Pain Plan

Patient Evaluation

Additional Resources
(Please note that by clicking on the links below, you will be leaving the American College of Surgeons website to view content on external websites.)

How Surgeons Are Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

Surgeons and all physicians are now screening their patients prior to opioid administration using the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Alternatives to opioids are being used and the amount and dose of opioid pills prescribed to patients is lower when appropriate. Numerous studies are underway monitoring the number of pills used by patients and their pain scores to better match pain control options for specific operations and avoid any excess opioid use (Hill MV, et al. 2018; Howard R, et al. 2018). Below are additional educational and leadership strategies for surgeons: