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This article is the author’s final published version in Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Global research & reviews, Volume 6, Issue 4, April 2022, Article e21.00226.

The published version is available at Copyright © Okoli et al.


Background: Prescription opioid abuse remains an ongoing public health crisis, especially in orthopaedic surgery. The purpose of the present study is to analyze opioid-prescribing patterns and investigate risk factors for prolonged opioid use after common outpatient orthopaedic surgical procedures.

Methods: After institutional review board approval, a review of 1,384 patients undergoing common elective outpatient orthopaedic procedures from January 2018 to June 2019 was conducted. Data on controlled substance prescriptions were obtained from the prescription drug monitoring program website. Statistical analysis was done to identify predictors for a second opioid prescription and prolonged opioid use (>6 months).

Results: Over 10% (150/1,384) of patients were still using opioids beyond 6 months. Of the opioid exposed patients, 60.4% (174/288) filled at least 1 additional opioid prescription postoperatively, and 29.2% (84/288) filled prescriptions beyond 6 months, compared with 26.4% (289/1,096) and 6.0% (66/1,096) of opioid-naive patients, respectively. Following multivariate analysis, significant predictors for filling a second opioid prescription included preoperative opioid use, current smoker status, benzodiazepine use, psychiatric disorder, and advanced age.

Conclusion: This study revealed risk factors for prolonged opioid use after orthopaedic surgery. Surgeons should be mindful of these risk factors and counsel patients regarding postoperative pain management.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.