Anesthesia and postoperative pain control—multimodal anesthesia protocol

Alisha Bhatia, Asokumar Buvanendran


Multimodal analgesia (MMA) involves the use of additive or synergistic combinations of analgesics to achieve clinically required analgesia while minimizing significant side effects associated with higher dose of a single equianalgesic medication such as an opioid analgesic. MMA generally involves optimizing non-opioid pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions and reserving opioid use to treat breakthrough pain. Patients receiving medications via MMA protocols are likely to have lower opioid consumption compared to those managed using primarily IV opioid patient-controlled analgesia. MMA pain management strategies have become important components of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols in an effort to optimize care by standardizing analgesic medications in the perioperative setting while minimizing adverse effects and improving quality and patient outcomes. Successful implementation of a MMA requires the input and cooperation of all of the stakeholders including the caregivers as well as the patients. Health system benefits can also be realized from the implementation of an effective MMA, as fewer opioid related side effects can improve patient recovery and lead to faster discharge and improved utilization of resources.