Outpatient joint replacements lead to less persistent opioid use despite similar prescription amounts, study says

Despite being prescribed similar amounts of opioids as inpatients, outpatient total joint replacement patients were less likely to become persistent opioid users, according to a Jan. 12 study published inThe Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 

Researchers studied 92,506 opioid-naïve patients who underwent either inpatient or outpatient elective total joint arthroplasty from 2007-17. Of those patients, 57,187 patients underwent total knee arthroplasty, which included 4,194 outpatient TKAs. 

Outpatient total joint arthroplasty was associated with reduced surgical opioid prescribing. About 80,393 patients received surgical opioids, with the amount being similar between inpatient and outpatient procedures. 

Despite receiving similar amounts, inpatient total joint patients were more likely to still be taking opioids 90 days postoperatively. 

Researchers concluded: "Outpatient TJA patients who received opioid prescriptions were prescribed a similar amount of opioids as those undergoing inpatient TJA procedures, but were significantly less likely to become persistent opioid users, even when controlling for patient factors. Outpatient TJA, as compared with inpatient TJA, does not appear to be a risk factor for new opioid dependence, and these findings support the continued transition to the outpatient-TJA model for lower-risk patients."

Read the study here.

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