Postoperative pain treatment after total hip arthroplasty: a systematic review

Pain. 2015 Jan;156(1):8-30. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.0000000000000003.


Treatment of postoperative pain should rely on results from randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses of high scientific quality. The efficacy of a particular intervention may depend on the type of surgical procedure, which supports the reporting of "procedure-specific" interventions. The aim of this systematic review was to document the procedure-specific evidence for analgesic interventions after total hip arthroplasty (THA). This PRISMA-compliant and PROSPERO-registered review includes randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) of medication-based analgesic interventions after THA. Endpoints were postoperative opioid consumption, pain scores (rest and during mobilization), adverse events, and length of hospital stay. Fifty-eight trials with 19 different interventions were retrieved. High risk of bias, substantial differences in assessment-tools and criteria for pain, irregular reporting of adverse events, considerable differences in supplemental analgesic consumption, and basic analgesic regimens generally characterized trials. Meta-analyses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, local infiltration analgesia, intrathecal opioids, and lumbar plexus block provided a 24-hour intravenous morphine-sparing effect of 14.1 (95 % confidence interval: 8.0-20.2) mg, 7.5 (3.7-11.3) mg, 19.8 (14.9-24.7) mg, and 11.9 (6.4-17.3) mg, respectively. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and lumbar plexus block were demonstrated to provide reductions in postoperative pain scores. Intrathecal opioids increased pruritus, and lumbar plexus block reduced nausea and pruritus. The GRADE-rated quality of evidence ranged from low to very low throughout the analyses. This review demonstrated, that some analgesic interventions may have the capacity to reduce mean opioid requirements and/or mean pain intensity compared with controls, but the available randomized placebo-controlled trials does not allow a designation of a "best proven intervention" for THA.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / trends
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Humans
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain, Postoperative / diagnosis
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome