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Should you stop Suboxone before surgery?

Not necessarily. The decision to continue or stop Suboxone before surgery largely depends on patient preference, type of surgery, expected recovery time, and so on. 

Since most surgeons do not routinely prescribe Suboxone, they are hesitant when deciding whether or not to continue prescribing it before and immediately after surgery. They will usually ask for consultations or advice from pain management specialists for patients on Suboxone. 

However, even among Suboxone prescribing doctors and pain management doctors, there is a debate about how Suboxone should be managed during surgery because every patient responds to pain differently. 

Most doctors who prescribe Suboxone recommend patients continue using it at their normal dose. In particular, this applies to patients who are worried about relapsing without the medication. In that case, additional opioids can be given on top of the patient’s normal Suboxone dose to control post-operative pain. 

Many hospitals and surgery centers have special pain management teams to help patients with complex pain needs, like those on Suboxone, to manage their pain after surgery. If a patient is anticipating a surgery, they should talk to their surgeon, anesthesiologist, and opioid prescriber prior to a planned surgery so that they can have a clear plan for how they would like to manage pain.

Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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