A multi-disciplinary program for opioid sparse arthroplasty results in reduced long-term opioid consumption: a four year prospective study

D-Yin Lin, Anthony J. Samson, Freeda D'Mello, Brigid Brown, Matthew G. Cehic, Christopher Wilson, Hidde M. Kroon, Ruurd L. Jaarsma

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Introduction: The current opioid epidemic poses patient safety and economic burdens to healthcare systems worldwide. Postoperative prescriptions of opioids contribute, with reported opioid prescription rates following arthroplasty as high as 89%. In this multi-centre prospective study, an opioid sparing protocol was implemented for patients undergoing knee or hip arthroplasty. The primary outcome is to report our patient outcomes in the context of this protocol, and to examine the rate of opioid prescription on discharge from our hospitals following joint arthroplasty surgery. This is possibly associated with the efficacy of the newly implemented Arthroplasty Patient Care Protocol. 

Methods: Over three years, patients underwent perioperative education with the expectation to be opioid-free after surgery. Intraoperative regional analgesia, early postoperative mobilisation and multimodal analgesia were mandatory. Long-term opioid medication use was monitored and PROMs (Oxford Knee/Hip Score (OKS/OHS), EQ-5D-5 L) were evaluated pre-operatively, and at 6 weeks, 6 months and 1 year postoperatively. Primary and secondary outcomes were opiate use and PROMs at different time points. 

Results: A total of 1,444 patients participated. Two (0.2%) knee patients used opioids to one year. Zero hip patients used opioids postoperatively at any time point after six weeks (p < 0.0001). The OKS and EQ-5D-5 L both improved for knee patients from 16 (12-22) pre-operatively to 35 (27-43) at 1 year postoperatively, and 70 (60-80) preoperatively to 80 (70-90) at 1 year postoperatively (p < 0.0001). The OHS and EQ-5D-5 L both improved for hip patients from 12 (8-19) preoperatively to 44 (36-47) at 1 year postoperatively, and 65 (50-75) preoperatively to 85 (75-90) at 1 year postoperatively (p < 0.0001). Satisfaction improved between all pre- and postoperative time points for both knee and hip patients (p < 0.0001). 

Conclusions: Knee and hip arthroplasty patients receiving a peri-operative education program can effectively and satisfactorily be managed without long-term opioids when coupled with multimodal perioperative management, making this a valuable approach to reduce chronic opioid use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number97
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Anesthesiology
Issue number1
Early online date29 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Arthroplasty
  • Multimodal perioperative management
  • Opioid


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