AAHKS Press Releases

Media Contact: Denise Smith Rodd drodd@operationwalkglobal.org
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Use of Narcotic Pain Medication for Arthritis Prior to Joint Surgery Can Lead to Worse Outcomes

For Immediate Release

Dallas, November 7, 2015 — The study, “Long-acting Opioid Use Independently Predicts Perioperative Complication in Total Joint Arthroplasty,” presented at the 25th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) on November 7, 2015 found that patients who are treated with narcotic prescription medication (opioids) prior to having total hip or total knee replacement surgery require more post-surgical pain medication, have longer hospital stays and are at higher risk for complications after surgery.

Erik N. Hansen, MD and co-authors David C. Sing, BS,  Jeffrey J. Barry, MD and Thomas P. Vail, MD sought to evaluate early post-surgical effects of short and long-acting opioids taken prior to surgery. They evaluated data of 174 patients who used short-term or long-term opioids before surgery and compared them to a matched group of patients who did not. Patients who used opioids, had a significantly higher need for pain medication in the hospital, could not walk as are on the first day after surgery, stayed longer in the hospital, were more likely to be discharged to a rehabilitation facility after surgery and had more complications in the 90 days following surgery.

The study concluded that patients should seek out alternative, non-opioid pain medication for joint pain before surgery and that seeing an orthopaedic surgeon sooner may reduce the risk of these negative outcomes after total joint replacement surgery.


About the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons:

Established in 1991, the mission of AAHKS is to advance hip and knee patient care through education and advocacy. AAHKS has a membership of over 3,700 surgeons. For more information, visit www.AAHKS.org.

Denise Smith Rodd