Patients who are dependent on opioids (narcotic pain relievers) for pain management before knee replacement surgery have much more difficulty recovering, a study recently published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS) has found. These patients tend to have longer hospital stays, more post-surgical pain, a higher rate of complications, and are more likely to need additional procedures, than patients who are not opioid-dependent.
- had to remain in the hospital longer after surgery
- were more likely to need referrals for pain management
- were more likely to suffer unexplained pain or stiffness
- had lower function and less motion in the replaced knee
- weaning patients off strong opioid medications prior to surgery
- prescribing alternate, non-opioid pain medications
- considering non-pharmaceutical pain management strategies