Hip Fracture Surgery: Regional Anesthesia and Opioid Demand

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2022 Jul 15;30(14):e979-e988. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-21-00786. Epub 2022 Mar 18.


Background: Hip fracture surgery is painful, and regional anesthesia (RA) has been used in an attempt to reduce pain and opioid consumption after surgery. Despite potential analgesic benefits, the effect of RA on inpatient and outpatient opioid demand is not well known. We hypothesized that RA would be associated with decreased inpatient opioid demand and has little effect on outpatient opioid demand in hip fracture surgery.

Methods: This study retrospectively evaluated all patients of 18 years and older undergoing hip fracture surgery from July 2013 to July 2018 at a single, level I trauma center (n = 1,659). Inpatient opioid consumption in 24-hour increments up to 72-hour postoperative and outpatient opioid prescribing up to 90-day postoperative were recorded in oxycodone 5-mg equivalents (OE's). Adjusted models evaluated the effect of RA on opioid demand after adjusting for other baseline and treatment variables.

Results: After adjusting for baseline and treatment variables, there were small increases in inpatient opioid consumption in patients with RA (2.6 estimated OE's without RA versus three OE's with RA from 0 to 24 hours postoperatively, 2.1 versus 2.4 from 24 to 48 hours postoperatively, and 1.6 versus 2.2 from 48 to 72 hours postoperatively, all P values for RA <0.001). However, there were no notable differences in outpatient opioid demand.

Discussion: RA did not decrease inpatient or outpatient opioid demand in patients undergoing hip fracture surgery in this pragmatic study. In fact, there were slight increases in inpatient opioid consumption, although these differences are likely clinically insignificant. These results temper enthusiasm for RA in hip fracture surgery.

Level of evidence: Level III, retrospective, therapeutic cohort study.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Anesthesia, Conduction*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Hip Fractures* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Analgesics, Opioid