The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 10 , 3246 - 3251.e1

Preoperative Opioids Increase the Risk of Periprosthetic Joint Infection After Total Joint Arthroplasty

Bell, Kerri L. et al.
Hip Knee


Opioids have well-known immunosuppressive properties and preoperative opioid consumption is relatively common among patients undergoing total joint arthroplasty (TJA). The hypothesis of this study was that utilization of opioids preoperatively would increase the incidence of subsequent periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) in patients undergoing primary TJA.


A comparative cohort study design was set up that used a cohort of 23,754 TJA patients at a single institution. Patient records were reviewed to extract relevant information, in particular details of opioid consumption, and an internal institutional database of PJI was cross-referenced against the cohort to identify patients who developed a PJI within 2 years of index arthroplasty. Univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses were used to examine the potential association between preoperative opioid consumption and the development of PJI.


Among the total cohort of 23,754 patients, 5051 (21.3%) patients used opioids before index arthroplasty. Preoperative opioid usage overall was found to be a significant risk factor for development of PJI in the univariate (odds ratio, 1.63; P = .005) and multivariate analyses (adjusted odds ratio, 1.53 [95% confidence interval, 1.14-2.05], P = .005).


Preoperative opioid consumption is independently associated with a higher risk of developing a PJI after primary TJA. These findings underscore a need for caution when prescribing opioids in patients with degenerative joint disease who may later require arthroplasty.

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