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J Arthroplasty. 2010 Sep;25(6 Suppl):12-6. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2010.05.003. Epub 2010 Jun 26.

Reduction in narcotic use after primary total knee arthroplasty and association with patient pain relief and satisfaction.

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Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655, USA.


We examined the prevalence of narcotic use before and after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and its association with post-TKA pain relief and satisfaction. Data on 6364 primary, unilateral TKA patients in a national registry were analyzed. Before TKA, 24% of patients were prescribed one form of narcotic. Of these, 14% reported continued narcotic use at 12 months after TKA, whereas the majority discontinued use. Only 3% of patients who did not use narcotics before TKA had a narcotics prescription at 12 months. Patients who used narcotics before TKA were more likely to have a narcotic prescription at 12 months post-TKA, reported greater pain at 12 months, and were more likely to be dissatisfied with TKA outcome. These findings have implications for patient pre-TKA counseling.

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