The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 9 , 2774 - 2779

Preoperative Smoking and Narcotic, Benzodiazepine, and Tramadol Use are Risk Factors for Narcotic Use After Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

Cryar, Kipp A. et al.
Hip Knee


The use of narcotics has been found to be a modifiable risk factor for success of arthroplasty. We sought to determine the risk factors leading to increased narcotic use after total hip arthroplasty and total knee arthroplasty.


A retrospective chart review was performed on new patients presenting to an orthopedic reconstructive-service clinic. New patients aged 18 years or older with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee who presented over a 1-year period and underwent total knee arthroplasty or total hip arthroplasty were included. The Arkansas prescription monitoring program was then used to determine recent narcotic and benzodiazepine prescriptions filled within 3 months of surgery, and this was converted into morphine milligram equivalents (MME).


One hundred seventy-nine patients met the inclusion criteria. When compared with patients who did not take any preoperative opioids, narcotic- and tramadol-only users filled an average of 86% and 38% more MME, respectively. Benzodiazepine users required an average of 81% more MME postoperative than nonusers, and smokers required an average of 90% more MME postoperative than nonsmokers. Subjects with body mass index >40 kg/m2 had 82% higher average postoperative MME than subjects with body mass index <25 kg/m2. Age and sex had no significant correlation with postoperative narcotic use.


This study suggests that a patient’s preoperative narcotic, tramadol, benzodiazepine, and tobacco use are correlated to the amount of postoperative narcotic prescriptions filled in the 3 months following surgery. Predisposition to substance abuse may be a characteristic which leads to increased postoperative narcotic use.

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