Tips and tricks in achieving zero peri-operative opioid used in onco-urologic surgery



To review non-opioid based protocols in urologic oncologic surgery and describe our institutional methods of eliminating peri-operative opioids.


A thorough literature review was performed using PUBMED to identify articles pertaining to reducing or eliminating narcotic use in genitourinary cancer surgery. Studies were analyzed pertaining to protocols utilized in genitourinary cancer surgery, major abdominal and/or pelvic non-urologic surgery.


Reducing or eliminating peri-operative narcotics should begin with an institutionalized protocol made in conjunction with the anesthesia department. Pre-operative regimens should consist of appropriate counseling, gabapentin, and acetaminophen with or without a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Prior to incision, a regional block or local anesthetic should be delivered. Anesthesiologists may develop opioid-free protocols for achieving and maintaining general anesthesia. Post-operatively, patients should be on a scheduled regimen of ketorolac, gabapentin, and acetaminophen.


Eliminating peri-operative narcotic use is feasible for major genitourinary oncologic surgery. Patients not only have improved peri-operative outcomes but also are at significantly reduced risk of developing long-term opioid use. Through the implementation of a non-opioid protocol, urologists are able to best serve their patients while positively contributing to reducing the opioid epidemic.

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Author information




This was an invited manuscript sent to JPS. The literature search was performed independently by ABK, BME, and JLP. Writing/editing was performed by ABK, BME, JLP, and JPS. Conceptualization and implementation of non-opioid protocol were performed by AJS and JPS.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to John P. Sfakianos.

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Katims, A.B., Eilender, B.M., Pfail, J.L. et al. Tips and tricks in achieving zero peri-operative opioid used in onco-urologic surgery. World J Urol (2020).

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  • Non-opioid
  • Opioid crisis
  • Pain management
  • Urologic oncology