Introduction: The opioid epidemic in the United States is a public health crisis. Breast surgeons are obligated to provide good pain control for their patients after surgery but also must minimize administration of narcotics to prevent a surgical episode of care from becoming a patient’s gateway into opioid dependence. Methods: A survey to ascertain pain management practice patterns after breast surgery was performed. A review of currently available literature that was specific to breast surgery was performed to create recommendations regarding pain management strategies. Results: A total of 609 surgeons completed the survey and demonstrated significant variations in pain management practices, specifically within regards to utilization of regional anesthesia (e.g., nerve blocks), and quantity of prescribed narcotics. There is excellent data to guide the use of local and regional anesthesia. There are, however, fewer studies to guide narcotic recommendations; thus, these recommendations were guided by prevailing practice patterns. Conclusions: Pain management practices after breast surgery have significant variation and represent an opportunity to improve patient safety and quality of care. Multimodality approaches in conjunction with standardized quantities of narcotics are recommended.
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