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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in The Journal of Hand Surgery.

The published version is available at . DOI: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2017.07.003. Copyright © Elsevier Inc.

Volume 42, Issue 10, October 2017, Pages 810-815


PURPOSE: Prescription opioid misuse has become increasingly prevalent in the United States. Preoperative opioid counseling has been proposed to decrease opioid consumption after surgery. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of preoperative opioid counseling on patients' pain experience and opioid consumption after carpal tunnel release (CTR) surgery.

METHODS: A prospective comparison of consecutive patients scheduled to undergo CTR surgery was conducted. Patients were randomized to receive either formal preoperative opioid counseling or no counseling. All operations were performed with the same miniopen CTR surgical technique, and the same number of opioids were prescribed after surgery. Daily opioid pill consumption, pain levels, and any adverse reactions were recorded.

RESULTS: During the day of surgery and the first day following surgery, patients in the group with counseling reported significantly fewer prescribed opioid pills consumed compared with patients in the group without counseling, while experiencing no significant difference in pain level experience. In addition, patients in the group with counseling reported a significantly lower number of total pain pills consumed over the course of the study than the group without counseling. No major adverse reactions were noted in either group.

CONCLUSIONS: Preoperative opioid counseling was found to result in a significant decrease in overall opioid consumption after surgery.


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