Perioperative Pain Management for Patients on Chronic Buprenorphine: A Case Report

J Anesth Clin Res. 2013 Oct 30;3(250):1000250. doi: 10.4172/2155-6148.1000250.


Here we present a patient with a Type I Chiari malformation who was receiving buprenorphine for chronic pain who underwent two separate urogynecologic procedures for removal of vaginal mesh with two different pain management regimens. For the first procedure at an outside hospital, the patient's usual dose of buprenorphine (8 mg sublingual every 8 hours) was continued up through her surgery and then a full opioid receptor agonist was used for postoperative pain management. The patient complained that this resulted in very poor pain control for her in the postoperative period. Prior to her second procedure, which was performed at our institution, buprenorphine was switched to a full opioid agonist (oral hydromorphone 4 mg every 4 to 6 hours, maximum 20 mg per day) for 5 days prior to surgery; postoperative pain was managed with full opioid receptor agonists. The patient again reported suboptimal pain control in spite of substantially increased doses of opioids. This case report highlights the difficulty of perioperative pain management for patients on chronic buprenorphine and emphasizes the need for additional investigation.