Patients With Functional Somatic Syndromes—Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Headaches, and Chronic Low Back Pain—Have Lower Outcomes and Higher Opioid Usage and Cost After Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

Published:December 30, 2022DOI:


      To perform a systematic review assessing the relationship between functional somatic syndromes (FSSs) and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), postoperative opioid consumption, and hospitalization costs after shoulder and elbow surgery.


      A systematic review of the PubMed and Web of Science databases was conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis guidelines to identify all studies evaluating the effect of having at least 1 FSS (fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headaches, chronic low back pain) on outcomes after shoulder and elbow surgeries. Outcomes of interest included postoperative analgesic use, PROMs, and hospitalization costs.


      The review identified a total of 320 studies, of which 8 studies met the inclusion criteria. The total number of participants in our 8 included studies was 57,389. Three studies (n = 620) reported PROMs. These studies demonstrated that the presence of at least 1 FSS is predictive of significantly greater pain scores and lower quality of recovery, Disability Arm Shoulder and Hand, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Shoulder Score, and Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation scores postoperatively. Although scores were inferior in among patients with FSS, 2 of the 3 studies showed improvement in PROMs in this group of patients. Seven studies (n = 56,909) reported postoperative opioid use. Of these, 5 reported that a diagnosis of at least 1 FSS was a strong risk factor for long-term opioid use after surgery. One study (n = 480) found that time-driven activity-based costs were significantly greater in patients with FSSs.


      Patients with functional somatic syndromes have less-favorable PROMs postoperatively, consume more opioids postoperatively, and have greater health care costs after elective shoulder and elbow procedures. Although PROMs among patients with FSSs are inferior compared with those without FSSs, PROMs still improved compared with baseline.

      Level of Evidence

      Level III, systematic review of Level II-III studies.
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