The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 11, 2669 - 2675

A Novel Opioid-Sparing Pain Management Protocol Following Total Hip Arthroplasty: Effects on Opioid Consumption, Pain Severity, and Patient-Reported Outcomes

Padilla, Jorge A. et al.


Opioid prescriptions and subsequent opioid-related deaths have increased substantially in the past several decades. Orthopedic surgery ranks among the highest of all specialties with respect to the amount of opioids prescribed. We present here the outcomes of our opioid-sparing pain management pilot protocol for total hip arthroplasty (THA).


A retrospective study was conducted to assess outcomes before and after the implementation of an opioid-sparing pain management protocol for THA. Patients were divided into 2 cohorts for comparison: (1) traditional pain management protocol and (2) opioid-sparing pain management protocol. The Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for Joint Replacement, pain severity using a Visual Analog Scale, and inpatient morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) per day were compared between the 2 cohorts.


No statistically significant difference was observed in Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for Joint Replacement between the 2 cohorts at any time point ( P > .05). Although there was a significant decrease in pain scores over time ( P < .01), there was no statistically significant difference in the rates of change between the 2 pain management protocols at any time point ( P = .463). Inpatient opioid consumption was significantly lower for the opioid-sparing cohort in comparison to the traditional cohort (14.6 ± 16.7 vs 25.7 ± 18.8 MME/d, P < .001). Similarly, the opioid-sparing cohort received significantly less opioids than the traditional cohort during the post discharge period (13.9 ± 24.2 vs 80.1 ± 55.9 MME, P < .001).


The results of this study suggest that an opioid-sparing protocol reduces opioid consumption and provides equivalent pain management and patient-reported outcomes during the 90-day THA episode of care relative to a traditional opioid-based regimen. These findings may help decrease the risk of adverse events associated with postoperative opioid use and provide a means of decreasing the opioid footprint in clinical practice.

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