Preoperative opioid use in patients undergoing shoulder surgery

Shoulder Elbow. 2021 Jun;13(3):248-259. doi: 10.1177/1758573219879689. Epub 2019 Oct 17.


Background: Opioids are commonly used to manage pain from acute injury or chronic degenerative diseases. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of preoperative opioid use in patients undergoing shoulder surgery and the clinical factors associated with preoperative opioid use.

Methods: This was an analytical cross-sectional study of 175 patients undergoing shoulder surgery at an urban hospital from June 2015 to June 2017. Multivariable regression models were used to determine independent associations.

Results: Fifty-three patients reported preoperative opioid use, which was significantly associated with primary procedure performed (Current Procedural Terminology [CPT]), higher body mass index (BMI), unemployment, lower income, smoking, higher American Society of Anesthesiologists score, greater number of previous surgeries, higher comorbidity burden, and decreased expectations to exercise and do recreational activities (p < 0.05). Preoperative opioid use was independently associated with worse scores on the: Numeric Pain Scale, ASES, IPAQ, and PROMIS domains of Physical Function, Pain Interference, and Social Satisfaction (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: More than one in four patients reported preoperative opioid use. Several health measures, including worse pain, function, and social satisfaction were independently associated with preoperative opioid use. These findings suggest that orthopaedic surgeons need to identify patients using opioids preoperatively in order to effectively establish and execute a plan for pain management, which may include weaning off opioids prior to surgery, managing psychological distress, and optimizing coping strategies.Level of Evidence: III.

Keywords: PROMIS; Shoulder; opioid; patient-reported outcomes.