Opioids are commonly used for the management of pain in patients with musculoskeletal disorders; however, national attention has highlighted the potential adverse effects of the use of opioid analgesia in this and other nonmalignant pain settings. Chronic opioid users undergoing orthopaedic surgery represent a particularly challenging patient population in regard to their perioperative pain control and outcomes. Preoperative evaluation provides an opportunity to estimate a patient's preoperative opioid intake, discuss pain-related fears, and identify potential psychiatric comorbidities. Patients using high levels of opioids may also require referral to an addiction specialist. Various regional blockade and pharmaceutical options are available to help control perioperative pain, and a multimodal pain management approach may be of particular benefit in chronic opioid users undergoing orthopaedic surgery.
Copyright 2014 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.