The Effect of Postoperative Opioid Prescription Refills on Achieving Meaningful Clinical Outcomes After Hip Arthroscopy for Femoroacetabular Impingement Syndrome

Published:February 13, 2020DOI:


      To determine whether requiring postoperative opioid refills has an effect on both baseline and postoperative functional scores, as well as rates of achieving clinical success 2 years after hip arthroscopy for femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (FAIS).


      Data from consecutive patients undergoing hip arthroscopy for FAIS from January 2012 to December 2016 were analyzed. Patients with at least 1 postoperative opioid refill were matched 1:2 by age and body mass index to patients not requiring refills. Preoperative and postoperative patient-reported outcomes including the Hip Outcome Score–Activities of Daily Living Subscale, HOS–Sports Subscale, and modified Hip Harris Score, as well as visual analog scale (VAS) pain and satisfaction surveys, were compared between the 2 groups, as well as between patients who requested 1 refill versus those requiring 2 or more refills. The minimal clinically important difference and patient acceptable symptomatic state (PASS) were calculated for the study group and compared between patient groups.


      A total of 128 patients (14.5%) requesting at least 1 postoperative opioid refill and 256 with no refills were included in the study. Analysis showed that the refill group had lower patient-reported outcomes (P < .05 for all), a lower VAS satisfaction score average (73.2 ± 30.7 vs 80.1 ± 25.9, P = .029), and a higher VAS pain score average (27.2 ± 26.1 vs 19.9 ± 22.7, P = .007). Similar trends were seen when patients with 1 refill were compared with those with 2 or more refills. Analysis of meaningful clinical outcomes showed that patients in the refill group had lower rates of achieving the PASS (68.3% vs 77.2%, P = .006). However, there were no statistically significant differences in achieving the minimal clinically important difference between the 2 groups (P > .05 for all).


      Patients undergoing hip arthroscopy for FAIS who require 1 or more opioid refills postoperatively are likely to have lower baseline and postoperative functional scores, as well as to achieve the PASS at lower rates, compared with patients who do not require an additional opioid prescription to what is routinely given after surgery.

      Level of Evidence

      Level III, retrospective case-control study.
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      Linked Article

      • Editorial Commentary: Hip Preservation and Opioids
        ArthroscopyVol. 36Issue 6
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          Approximately one-third of patients undergoing arthroscopic hip preservation surgery for femoroacetabular impingement syndrome and labral tears are on preoperative opioid medications. The single most important predictor for prolonged chronic postoperative opioid use is preoperative use. Despite the well-documented high success rates in nonarthritic, nondysplastic individuals undergoing hip arthroscopy, up to half of those individuals on preoperative opioids may still be on opioids at 1 to 2 years of follow-up.
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