The United States (US) is in the mid of an opioid epidemic propagated, in part, by prescription opioids. With excess overprescribing documented in a variety of surgical procedures, several societies have recommended opioid-prescribing guidelines. Considering the scope and postoperative pain associated with aesthetic plastic surgery procedures, earnest evaluation into opioid-prescribing practices for breast augmentation was conducted.
Members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery were electronically surveyed on their opioid-prescribing patterns. The survey was distributed to 1709 plastic surgeons. Descriptive statistics were collated into percentages, deviations, and morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs), when appropriate.
Two hundred twenty-nine American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery members (13.4%) provided responses. A total of 91.2% of respondents prescribe opioids to patients undergoing breast augmentation. The most commonly prescribed agents included oxycodone/acetaminophen (Percocet, 47.0%) and hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin, 38.3%). On average, 165.3 ± 81.7 MMEs were dispensed (range, 25.0–600.0 MMEs; number tablets, 5–60). Prescribers felt that a lack of phone-in prescribing (52.4%) and the ease of preemptively prescribing opioids (52.4%) propagate opioid overprescribing. A total of 61.3% of respondents reported that they are or may be in favor of developing plastic surgery societal guidelines related to opioid prescribing. These respondents indicated support for guidelines on opioid-sparing pain management strategies (74.2%) and guidelines identifying the type (54.7%), duration of use (69.5%), and number of opioid tablets (61.7%) necessary for procedures.
Considerable variability exists among prescribing patterns after breast augmentation. Societal guidelines aimed at providers and patients may serve a future role in opioid prescribing.