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Bone Joint J. 2018 Jan;100-B(1 Supple A):62-67. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.100B1.BJJ-2017-0547.R1.

Trends and risk factors for prolonged opioid use after unicompartmental knee arthroplasty.

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University of Iowa, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate trends in opioid use after unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA), to identify predictors of prolonged use and to compare the rates of opioid use after UKA, total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA).


We identified 4205 patients who had undergone UKA between 2007 and 2015 from the Humana Inc. administrative claims database. Post-operative opioid use for one year post-operatively was assessed using the rates of monthly repeat prescription. These were then compared between patients with and without a specific variable of interest and with those of patients who had undergone TKA and THA.


A total of 4205 UKA patients were analysed. Of these, 1362 patients (32.4%) were users of opioids. Pre-operative opioid use was the strongest predictor of prolonged opioid use after UKA. Opioid users were 1.4 (81.6% versus 57.7%), 3.7 (49.5% versus 13.3%) and 5.5 (35.8% versus 6.5%) times more likely to be taking opioids at one, two and three months post-operatively, respectively (p < 0.05 for all). Younger age and specific comorbidities such as anxiety/depression, smoking, back pain and substance abuse were found to significantly increase the rate of repeat prescription for opioids after UKA. Overall, UKA patients required significantly less opioid prescriptions than patients who had undergone THA and TKA.


One-third of patients who undergo UKA are given opioids in the three months pre-operatively. Pre-operative opioid use is the best predictor of increased repeat prescriptions after UKA. However, other intrinsic patient characteristics are also predictive. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2018;100-B(1 Supple A):62-7.


Arthroplasty; Opioid

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