A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Intravenous Acetaminophen on Hospital Length of Stay in Obese Individuals Undergoing Sleeve Gastrectomy

Obes Surg. 2018 Oct;28(10):2998-3006. doi: 10.1007/s11695-018-3316-7.


Background: Retrospective studies indicate that acetaminophen iv administration reduces hospital length of stay (LoS) and opiate consumption in patients undergoing bariatric surgery.

Objective: This study sought to determine whether using acetaminophen iv in morbidly obese subjects undergoing sleeve gastrectomy decreased LoS and total hospital charges as compared to patients receiving saline placebo.

Setting: Single-center university hospital METHODS: Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, subjects were assigned to receive either acetaminophen iv (group A) or saline placebo iv (group P). Data were collected between Jan 1 and Dec 31, 2016. Group A received acetaminophen every 6 h for a total of four doses. The first dose was administered following the induction of general anesthesia; group P received saline iv on the same schedule. Anesthetic management and prophylactic antiemetic regimen were standardized in all subjects. Postoperative pain management consisted of hydromorphone via patient-controlled infusion pump. Primary outcomes include hospital LoS and associated hospital costs. Secondary outcomes include patient satisfaction and postoperative nausea and pain scores.

Results: Subject demographics (n = 127) and intraoperative management were similar in the two groups. Across all subjects, median hospital LoS in group A (n = 63) was 1.87 vs. 1.97 days in group P (n = 64) (p = 0.03, Wilcoxon rank-sum test). Postoperatively, daily quality-of-recovery (QoR-15) scores, narcotic consumption, and the use of rescue antiemetics were not significantly different between groups. Median hospital costs were as follows: group A, $12,885 vs. group P, $12,977 (n = 64).

Conclusions: Acetaminophen iv may reduce hospital LoS in subjects undergoing sleeve gastrectomy.

Keywords: Acetaminophen; Double blind; Obesity; Placebo; Prospective; RCT; Randomized controlled trial; Surgery.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen* / administration & dosage
  • Acetaminophen* / therapeutic use
  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic* / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic* / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Gastrectomy / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Period
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Acetaminophen