HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center’s Dr. Yannis Raftopoulos, a board-certified bariatric surgeon and weight-management specialist, presented new research on restricting opioid medications after bariatric surgery at the American College of Surgeons Annual Congress in San Diego in October. This year’s conference theme was “Do What’s Right for the Patient.”
Research shows that perioperative use of opioids is associated with an increased incidence of complications in obese patients, and bariatric surgery patients are over-represented in substance-use treatment facilities.
Raftopoulos study showed the use of opioids/narcotics after a patient has left the recovery room and until their discharge from the hospital dropped 40%. Previously, 100% of patients were provided with opioids during this transition. This decrease was accomplished without negatively affecting the length of hospital stay, 30-day ER visits, or readmissions. Only 1.9% of bariatric patients at Holyoke Medical Center required a narcotic prescription after hospital discharge, down from 100% previously.
“There has been no data presented in the past in the U.S. to address this issue, not only in bariatric surgery, but also in any other surgical field,” Raftopoulos said. “This impressive reduction in postoperative opioid use was accomplished while our Comprehensive and Metabolic Bariatric Center of Excellence boasted one of the lowest lengths of inpatient stays worldwide of only 1.2 days following laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.”
Since opening the HMC Weight Management Program in February 2016, Raftopoulos has presented research findings at a variety of conferences across the U.S. and internationally.
“Holyoke Medical Center is proud to support Dr. Raftopoulos and the research he has done to reduce the impact on the opioid epidemic, while also providing superior care to our patients in the Pioneer Valley and surrounding area,” said Spiros Hatiras, president and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems.
Raftopoulos and the HMC Weight Management Program will be among 10 sites nationally, and the only site in the Northeast, participating in an FDA trial assessing the efficacy of the novel and revolutionary intragastric balloon. The device is swallowed as a pill and requires no endoscopy, sedation, or anesthesia to be placed or removed. This trial is scheduled to begin enrollment in early 2018.