Chronic Preoperative Opioids Are Associated With Revision After Rotator Cuff Repair

Arthroscopy. 2021 Apr;37(4):1110-1114.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2020.11.046. Epub 2020 Dec 2.


Purpose: We sought to clarify the relationship between chronic preoperative opioids and complications following rotator cuff repair. Specifically, we assessed revision, a definitive postoperative end point for surgical outcome.

Methods: This study used PearlDiver, a United States national insurance claims database. All patients undergoing rotator cuff repair from 2008 to 2018 were identified and stratified based on a minimum of 2 opioid prescriptions within the 6 months before surgery, with 1 prescription occurring within 0 to 3 months before surgery and a second prescription within 4 to 6 months before surgery. Univariate logistic regressions of risk factors were conducted, followed by multivariate analysis of comorbidities, including ongoing preoperative opioids, any preoperative nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) prescriptions, age, sex, diabetes, tobacco, and obesity.

Results: In total, 28,939 patients undergoing rotator cuff repair were identified, of whom 10,695 had opioid prescriptions within both 0 to 3 months and 4 to 6 months before index rotator cuff repair, whereas 18,244 had no opioid prescriptions within the 6-month preoperative period. In total, 977 (3.4%) patients underwent revision within 6 months, which increased to 1311 (4.5%) within 1 year of the index procedure. In the multivariate analysis controlling for age, preoperative NSAID prescriptions, tobacco, diabetes, obesity, and sex, we observed a significant association between chronic preoperative opioid prescriptions and rotator cuff repair revision (6-month odds ratio 1.12; P = .021, 1-year odds ratio 1.43; P < .001) following index procedure.

Conclusions: We report increased rates of revision within both 6 months and 1 year in patients with prolonged preoperative opioid prescriptions. The opioid cohort had greater rates of preoperative NSAID use and tobacco use, which also were observed to be independent risk factors for revision at both timepoints.

Level of evidence: III; Retrospective comparative study.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects*
  • Arthroscopy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Period
  • Reoperation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery*
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries / surgery*


  • Analgesics, Opioid