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Published on July 26, 2016

Surgeon Reveals How Opioid Sparing Surgery Can Help to Prevent Addiction

And Why it’s Better and Safer for Patients

WATERBURY, Conn. (July 26, 2016) ─ The statistics are overwhelming. About 720 Connecticut residents died after overdosing on opioids and heroin, the Connecticut Post reported. In the first five months of 2016, there were 17 fatal overdoses in Waterbury alone, the Hartford Courant said. Four in 10 Americans know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll released this month.Dr. Philip Corvo photo

What can be done? Listen to “Medically Speaking” on WATR Radio 1320 AM on Wednesday, July 27, from 6 to 7pm. Dr. Philip Corvo, Chairman of the Stanley J. Dudrick Department Surgery and Director of Surgical Critical Care at Saint Mary’s Hospital, will discuss how surgeons at Saint Mary’s are helping to prevent patients from becoming addicted to opioid medication through new procedures called “opioid sparing surgery.”

“Medically Speaking” is sponsored by Saint Mary’s Hospital and hosted by Robin Sills, RN, Physician Liaison. Live streaming is available at As always, listeners are invited to call in questions during the live broadcast at 203-757-1320.

Opioid sparing pain control techniques are available to block pain and keep patients comfortable for several days following surgery, Dr. Corvo said. These techniques allow patients to return home quickly, with a reduced risk of infection and blood clots, and fewer side effects. Many patients go home in two or three days after a major abdominal surgery, compared to the national average of five to seven days. As for prescription pain medication? They frequently don’t need a single pill.

As a leader in surgical quality, Saint Mary’s was among the first hospitals in the state to adopt Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols to enhance the safety of surgical patients, and spurred the creation of the Connecticut Surgical Quality Collaborative, the largest and most diverse collaborative of its kind in the country. Chaired by Dr. Corvo, the Collaborative allows hospitals to share outcomes data and solutions to problems.

“In addition we are part of the Connecticut Hospital Association’s statewide High Reliability Safety Collaborative. Our daily safety huddles allow department heads from across the hospital to talk about potential issues before those issues ever have a chance to impact patient safety,” Dr. Corvo said. “Everything we do is to enhance Saint Mary’s reputation for delivering safe, patient-centered care.”

Dr. Corvo is a past president of the Connecticut Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, and is the President and co-founder of the Connecticut Surgical Quality Collaborative.

For more information about surgical services at Saint Mary’s Hospital, visit

About Saint Mary’s Hospital

Saint Mary’s Health System is a leading regional healthcare provider anchored by Saint Mary’s Hospital, an acute care community teaching hospital that has served Greater Waterbury for more than 100 years. Licensed for 347 beds, Saint Mary’s is designated as a Level II Trauma Center, offers award-winning cardiac and stroke care and houses the region’s only pediatric emergency care unit. As the leading provider of surgical services in Greater Waterbury, Saint Mary’s was the first to introduce the daVinci® Robotic Surgery System. The health system’s satellites and affiliates extend from Waterbury to Wolcott, Naugatuck, Southbury, Prospect and Watertown. Follow us on Facebook at SaintMarysHospitalCT or Twitter at @SaintMarysCT.

Media Contact

Jennifer Clement
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(203) 709-6240