A new study from the University of South Australia published in the BMC Musculoskeletal journal has linked opioid use after hip replacement surgery to an increase in hip revision surgery.
“The observation that patients with revision procedures always had higher opioid consumption than patients that did not go on to be revised, including in the pre-operative period, offers a window of opportunity for surgeons to address opioid use and its possible post-operative impact pre surgery, when more frequent contact and surgical counselling is occurring,” Maria C.S. Ignacio and colleagues wrote.
While revision surgery is often caused by faulty hip devices, Ignacio found patients who needed revision surgery also used higher doses of opioid painkillers compared to those who did not. Study authors said healthcare providers should closely monitor these patients. Failed hip devices remain a huge problem and the manufacturers of such devices must be held accountable. However, surgeons should examine this new study and carefully monitor their hip replacement surgery candidates regarding their opioid use prior to surgery and counsel them about the potential dangers of opioid use after the surgery. Studies have shown that post-operative opioid use has little beneficial effect in terms of joint pain in patients who’ve had knee or hip replacement surgery.