Stateline doctor develops non-narcotic surgery technique

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Dr. Mark Barba, an orthopedic joint replacement specialist with Ortho Illinois, developed a new procedure that injects pain-relieving drugs into the wounds during surgery to help with pain relief rather than prescribing strong opioid-based medication for pain management after surgery.

Dr. Barba says he's already seen an improvement in his patients using the new procedure.

"It has certainly resulted in a great improvement in the way our office runs now. We don't have to worry about people asking for narcotic prescriptions now and diverting them, selling them," says Barba.

"I had no pain afterward. After surgery I went home that same day, I had no physical therapy. I was up in my own bed, I could go to my own bathroom, I could step in and out of the shower without pain," says patient Joan Malone.

Dr. Barba says he hopes these new techniques can be expanded beyond joint replacement.

Some dentists who say they're seeing similar problems with opioid dependency in their patients have already expressed their interest in similar procedures.