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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2018 Apr;27(4):686-691. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2017.11.015. Epub 2018 Jan 3.

Multimodal analgesia decreases opioid consumption after shoulder arthroplasty: a prospective cohort study.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Department of Anesthesiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA. Electronic address:



Studies on perioperative pain control in shoulder arthroplasty focus on regional anesthesia, with little research on other approaches. Perioperative multimodal analgesia regimens decrease opioid intake and opioid-related side effects in lower-extremity arthroplasty. In this study we compare pain scores, opioid consumption, length of stay, and readmission rates in postoperative shoulder arthroplasty patients treated with a standard or multimodal analgesia regimen.


A prospective cohort analysis was performed at a single institution. Patients undergoing elective shoulder arthroplasty were treated with either a standard opioid-based regimen or a multimodal analgesia regimen perioperatively. Outcome measures included inpatient pain scores, opioid use, length of stay, and 30- and 90-day emergency department visits and readmission rates.


Seventy-five patients were included in each cohort. Patients treated with the multimodal analgesia regimen had lower postoperative day 0 pain scores (mean, 1.5 vs 2.2; P = .027). Opioid use in the multimodal cohort was lower on all days: 47% lower on postoperative day 0, 37% on day 1, and 44% on day 2 (all P < .01). The length of inpatient stay was significantly shorter for multimodal patients than for patients treated with the standard regimen (1.44 days vs 1.91 days, P < .01). There was no difference in the rate of 30- or 90-day emergency department visits or readmission.


Patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty have decreased postoperative pain and opioid consumption and shorter hospital stays when given a multimodal analgesia regimen. There is no increase in short-term complications or unplanned readmissions, indicating that this is a safe and effective means to control postoperative pain.


Shoulder arthroplasty; multimodal analgesia; opioid use; pain control; perioperative analgesia; postoperative length of inpatient stay

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