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Will I need narcotics for joint replacement surgery?

You may need narcotics for joint replacement surgery. Doctors want to give you some pain relief, but they want to minimize the use of narcotics during and after joint replacement surgery. Narcotics have a lot of untoward side effects. They cause nausea, vomiting and a change in mental status.

Unfortunately, there is not a complete substitute for them yet. To minimize their use, doctors do things like local anesthesia around your knee, spinals with just a touch of morphine in your back and with other medications -- not narcotic medications but anti-inflammatory medications and things like that to minimize the need for narcotics. The more doctors can minimize the need for narcotics, the less chance you have those bad side effects, so it's kind of a balancing act.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.