7 statistics on opioid consumption following upper extremity procedures

Written by Jessica Kim Cohen | October 28, 2016 | Print  |

A study in Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that patients who undergo upper extremity surgeries are being prescribed three times greater opioid medications than needed.

The researchers collected patient data for 1,416 participants to identify opioid consumption patterns following outpatient upper extremity surgical procedures. Data included patient demographic characteristics, surgical details, anesthesia type and opioid prescription.

 

Surgeons prescribed a mean total of 24 pills, while patients reported consuming a mean total of 8.1 pills. These findings illustrate a utilization rate of 34 percent; however, these statistics varied by procedure type and anatomic location.

 

Here's what you need to know:

 

1. Soft-tissue procedures: patients reported consuming an average of 5.1 pills for 2.2 days

 

2. Fracture surgical procedures: patients reported consuming an average of 13 pills for 4.5 days

 

3. Joint procedures: patients reported consuming an average of 14.5 pills for 5 days

 

4. Wrist surgical procedures: patients reported consuming an average of 7.5 pills for 3.1 days

 

5. Hand surgical procedures: patients reported consuming an average of 7.7 pills for 2.9 days

 

6. Forearm and elbow surgical procedures: patients reported consuming an average of 11.1 pills

 

7. Upper arm and shoulder surgical procedures: patients reported consuming an average of 22 pills

 

Anesthesia type, age and type of insurance were also significantly associated with opioid consumption.

 

The researchers concluded by recommending that "surgeons carefully examine their patients' opioid utilization and consider customizing their opioid prescriptions on the basis of anatomic location and procedure type to prescribe the optimal amount of opioids."

 

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99% of trauma patients prescribed opioids cease use after 1 year: 5 study insights

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