Tag Archive | opioid

What’s New in Orthopaedic Rehabilitation 2018

Every month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.

This month, Nitin Jain, MD, MSPH, a co-author of the November 21, 2018 Specialty Update on Orthopaedic Rehabilitation, summarized the most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 40 noteworthy studies summarized in the article.

Acute Pain Management

–A randomized double-blind study comparing 4 two-way combinations of analgesics (three of which contained an opioid medication)1 in emergency-department patients experiencing acute extremity pain found no significant between-group differences in mean pain scores at 1 and 2 hours after medication administration.

Total Hip Arthroplasty

–A randomized clinical trial of >100 patients who underwent unilateral total hip arthroplasty found no significant differences in functional outcomes between a group that participated after surgery in a self-directed home exercise program and a group that participated in a standardized physical therapy program.

Concussion

–An assessment of brain tissue from 202 American football players2 whose organs were donated for neuropathological evaluation found that 87% had evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Analysis of brain tissue from former NFL players in the cohort showed that nearly all had severe CTE.

Rotator Cuff Tears

–A study following the natural progression of full-thickness, asymptomatic, degenerative rotator cuff tears found that patients with fatty muscle degeneration were more likely to experience tear-size progression than those without fatty infiltration.

Low Back Pain

–A study consolidating data from 3 separate randomized trials attempted to evaluate the efficacy of radiofrequency (RF) neurotomy for treating a heterogeneous collection of diagnoses that commonly result in low back pain.3 No significant or clinically important differences were found when the RF procedure was compared with a standardized exercise program. The number needed to treat for all 3 arms of the study ranged from 4 to 8, with a median of 5. Some have called into question the methods of this study, particularly the diagnostic criteria used for patient inclusion and the potential inaccuracy of lumping together heterogeneous diagnoses.

References

  1. Chang AK, Bijur PE, Esses D, Barnaby DP, Baer J. Effect of a single dose of oral opioid and nonopioid analgesics on acute extremity pain in the emergency department: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2017 Nov 7;318(17):1661-7.
  2. Mez J, Daneshvar DH, Kiernan PT, Abdolmohammadi B, Alvarez VE, Huber BR, Alosco ML,Solomon TM, Nowinski CJ, McHale L, Cormier KA, Kubilus CA, Martin BM, Murphy L, Baugh CM, Montenigro PH, Chaisson CE, Tripodis Y, Kowall NW, Weuve J, McClean MD, Cantu RC,Goldstein LE, Katz DI, Stern RA, Stein TD, McKee AC. Clinicopathological evaluation of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in players of American football. JAMA. 2017 Jul 25;318(4):360-70.
  3. Juch JNS, Maas ET, Ostelo RWJG, Groeneweg JG, Kallewaard JW, Koes BW, Verhagen AP, van Dongen JM, Huygen FJPM, van Tulder MW. Effect of radiofrequency denervation on pain intensity among patients with chronic low back pain: the Mint randomized clinical trials. JAMA. 2017;318(1):68-81.

Opioid-Tapering Plan May Help Prevent Prolonged Use after Trauma/Surgery

Hydrocodone Has Dark Side as Recreational DrugAddressing the opioid epidemic requires a concerted effort from all sectors of society, but the role of surgeons (orthopaedic and otherwise) cannot be ignored because they determine how best to manage postoperative pain for millions of patients. OrthoBuzz recently commented on two opioid-related studies from the July 18, 2018 issue of JBJS. In the August 1, 2018 edition of The Journal, Mohamadi et al. explain findings from a meta-analysis of 37 studies involving nearly 2 million patients that pinpoint several patient-related risk factors associated with opioid use beyond 2 months following surgery or trauma.

Using careful meta-analysis methods, the authors determined that about 4% of patients continued to use prescription opioids beyond 2 months after surgery or trauma. They also identified the following risk factors as being “among the most important predictors of prolonged opioid use” in these patients:

  • Prior use of opioids or benzodiazepines
  • Depression
  • Long-duration hospital stay
  • History of back pain

Mohamadi et al. also calculated a “number needed to harm” (NNH) from their data. NNH indicates the number of patients with a certain risk factor that is necessary to result in 1 person with prolonged opioid use beyond that of a patient population without that risk factor. They found that for every 3 patients with a history of opioid use, every 23 patients with a history of back pain, every 40 with depression, or every 62 with a history of benzodiazepine use, 1 patient will continue to use prescribed opioids for an extended time period.

Because this meta-analysis was derived from observational studies, the authors caution that “causal inferences could not be drawn for the proposed risk factors.” But they do offer a practical piece of advice gleaned from prior research: Provide patients with an opioid-tapering plan at the time of discharge to significantly reduce the likelihood of prolonged opioid use.

Prescribing Opioids: Smallest Dose for Shortest Time

Opioid for OBuzzSome people are tired of reading and hearing about the opioid crisis in America. When this topic comes up at meetings, there are rumblings in the crowd. When it’s brought up during hospital safety briefings, there are not-so-subtle eye-rolls, and occasionally I hear frank assertions of “enough already” when new information on the topic appears in the literature. Yet, as two studies in the July 18, 2018 edition of JBJS highlight, this topic is not going away any time soon. And for good reason. We are only starting to scratch the surface of the serious unintended consequences—beyond the risk of addiction—from overly aggressive prescribing and consumption of narcotics.

The first article, by Zhu et al., directly addresses the topic of overprescribing by doctors in China. The authors evaluated how many opioid pills were given to patients who sustained fractures that were treated nonoperatively. The mean number of opioid pills patients reported consuming (7.2) was less than half the mean number prescribed (14.7). More than 70% of patients did not consume all the opioid pills they were prescribed, and 10% of patients consumed no opioids at all. Zhu et al. conclude that “if opioids are used [in this setting], surgeons should prescribe the smallest dose for the shortest time after considering the injury location and type of fracture or dislocation.”

The second article, by Weick et al., underscores the patient-outcome and societal impact of opioid use prior to total hip and knee arthroplasty. Patients from North America who consumed opioids for 60+ days prior to their joint replacement had a significantly increased risk of revision at both the 1-year and 3-year postoperative follow-ups, compared to similar patients who were opioid-naïve before surgery. Similarly, patients who used opioids for 60+ days prior to undergoing a total hip or knee arthroplasty had a significantly increased risk of 30-day readmission, compared to patients who were opioid-naïve.  All these differences held when the authors made adjustments for patient age, sex, and comorbidities—meaning that tens of thousands of patients each year can expect to have worse outcomes (and add a large cost burden to the health care system) simply by being on opioid medications for two months preoperatively.

These articles address two very different research questions in two very different regions of the world,  but they help expose the chasm in our knowledge surrounding opioid use and misuse. We have been prescribing patients more narcotics than they need while just starting to recognize the importance of minimizing opioid use preoperatively in an effort to maximize surgical outcomes. These two competing impulses emphasize why further opioid-related studies are important.  While continuing to look at the negative effects these medications can have on patients, we have to take a hard look at our contribution to the problem.

Chad A. Krueger, MD
JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media

What’s New in Hand and Wrist Surgery 2018

Human Hand Anatomy IllustrationEvery month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.

This month, Sanjeev Kakar, MD, author of the March 21, 2018 Specialty Update on Hand and Wrist Surgery, selected the five most clinically compelling findings from among the nearly 40 studies summarized in the Specialty Update.

Distal Radius Fractures

—When can a patient safely drive after surgical treatment of a distal radial fracture? According to a prospective study by Jones et al.1, most patients can do so within 3 weeks following surgery. Twenty-three patients had their driving evaluated 2 and 4 weeks after volar plating. Sixteen of the 23 patients drove safely on a closed course with both hands on their first attempt, which averaged 18 days after surgery.

Scaphoid Fractures

—One factor contributing to scaphoid nonunion is impaired vascularity. So, if the proximal pole of the scaphoid is avascular, is the use of vascularized bone grafting mandatory? No, according to a prospective study by Rancy et al.2, which followed 35 scaphoid nonunion patients treated with curettage, nonvascularized bone grafting, and headless screw fixation. Nine of 23 proximal pole fractures demonstrated ischemia on MRI imaging; 28 of 33 were found to have impaired intraoperative punctate bleeding; and 18 patients had ≥50% tissue necrosis on pathological analysis. CT analysis revealed that 33 of the 35 scaphoids had healed by three months, leading the authors to conclude that nonvascularized bone grafting can suffice as long as the fracture is appropriately reduced and stabilized.

Kienbock Disease

—Lichtman et al.3 introduced a new algorithm for Kienbock disease management that incorporates previous classification systems plus 5 treatment-guiding questions:

  • How old is the patient?
  • What is the effect of the disease on the lunate?
  • How does the disease affect the wrist?
  • What treatments are available?
  • What are the patient’s requirements?

Depending on the answers, the authors present treatment options ranging from lunate reconstruction to wrist salvage.

Ulnar Impaction

—Some surgeons view radiographic evidence of a reverse oblique inclination in the sigmoid notch as a contraindication for ulnar shortening in patients with ulnar impaction. However, using MRI, Ross et al.4 noted that reverse oblique inclinations of the distal radioulnar joint, as seen on plain radiographs, were not evident when coronal MRI scans were analyzed. They concluded that some patients previously thought to have contraindications to ulnar shortening may in fact be suitable candidates for that procedure.

Prescribing Opioids

—Dwyer et al.5 evaluated an opioid-reduction strategy for patients undergoing carpal tunnel release or volar locking-plate fixation of distal radius fractures. Patients received education and encouragement to use over-the-counter (OTC) medications along with opioids. Among the carpal tunnel cohort (n = 121), the average opioid prescription was for 10 pills compared with 22 in the previous year. Average actual consumption was 3 opioid pills and 11 OTC pills. In the distal radius fracture group (n = 24), the average opioid prescription was 25 pills compared with 39 the year before. These patients consumed on average 16 opioid pills with 20 OTC pills. Patient satisfaction was high in both groups. The authors recommend that physicians prescribe 5 to 10 opioid pills for carpal tunnel release and 20 to 30 pills after volar plating for distal radius fractures.

References

  1. Jones CM, Ramsey RW, Ilyas A, Abboudi J, Kirkpatrick W, Kalina T, Leinberry C. Safe return to driving after volar plating of distal radius fractures. J Hand Surg Am. 2017 Sep;42(9):700-704.e2.
  2. Rancy SK, Swanstrom MM, DiCarlo EF, Sneag DB, Lee SK, Wolfe SW, Scaphoid Nonunion Consortium. Success of scaphoid nonunion surgery is independent of proximal pole vascularity. J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2017 Jan 1;1753193417732003.
  3. Lichtman DM, Pientka WF 2nd, Bain GI. Kienböck disease: a new algorithm for the 21st century. J Wrist Surg. 2017 Feb;6(1):2-10. Epub 2016 Oct 27.
  4. Ross M, Wiemann M, Peters SE, Benson R, Couzens GB. The influence of cartilage thickness at the sigmoid notch on inclination at the distal radioulnar joint. Bone Joint J. 2017 Mar;99-B(3):369-75.
  5. Dwyer CL, Soong MC, Hunter AA, Dashe J, Tolo ET, Kastayan NG. Prospective evaluation of an opioid reduction protocol in hand surgery. Read at the American Society for Surgery of the Hand Annual Meeting; 2017 Sep 7-9; San Francisco, CA. Paper no. 5.

Excess Opioid Medication Video Summary

Postoperative pain management in orthopaedic surgery accounts for a substantial portion of opioid medications prescribed in the United States. https://goo.gl/rZaM3y 

Excess Prescription Opioids

Postoperative management in orthopaedic surgery accounts for a substantial portion of medications prescribed in the United States. https://goo.gl/H93hya 

What’s New in Adult Reconstructive Knee Surgery 2018

Knee_smEvery month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.

This month, Chad A. Krueger, MD, JBJS Deputy Editor for Social Media, selected the most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 150 studies cited in the January 17, 2018 Specialty Update on Adult Reconstructive Knee Surgery.

Nonoperative Knee OA Treatment

—Intra-articular corticosteroid injections are commonly administered to mitigate pain and inflammation in knee osteoarthritis (OA). However, a randomized controlled trial of 140 patients found that 2 years of triamcinolone injections, when compared with saline injections, resulted in a significantly greater degree of cartilage loss without significant differences in symptoms.1

Non-Arthroplasty Operative Management

—Knee arthroscopy continues to be largely ineffective for pain relief and functional improvement in knee OA. A randomized controlled trial found no evidence that debridement of unstable chondral flaps found at the time of arthroscopic meniscectomy improves clinical outcomes.

Cartilage restoration procedures continue to show varying degrees of success. Long-term results from a randomized trial demonstrated no significant differences in joint survivorship and function between patients undergoing microfracture versus autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) at 15 years of follow-up. Nearly 50% of patients in both groups had radiographic evidence of early knee OA.

Periprosthetic Joint Infection

—Periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) remains a leading cause of failure following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Successful treatment requires accurate diagnosis, and alpha-defensin was found to be both sensitive and specific in the diagnosis of PJI. However, it was not significantly superior to leukocyte esterase (LE) in cases of obvious infection.

—Reported rates of reinfection after 2-stage reimplantation for treatment of a first PJI can be as high as 19%. A 3-month course of oral antibiotics following 2-stage procedures significantly improved infection-free survival without complications.2

Post-TKA Complications from Opioids

—Amid ongoing concerns about opioid misuse, two studies3 suggested that preoperative opioid use was found to be an independent predictor of increased length of stay, complications, readmissions, and less pain relief following TKA.

References

  1. McAlindon TE, LaValley MP, Harvey WF, Price LL, Driban JB, Zhang M,Ward RJ. Effect of intra-articular triamcinolone vs saline on knee cartilage volume and pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized clinical trial. 2017 May 16;317(19):1967-75.
  2. Frank JM, Kayupov E, Moric M, Segreti J, Hansen E, Hartman C, Okroj K,Belden K, Roslund B, Silibovsky R, Parvizi J, Della Valle CJ; Knee Society Research Group. The Mark Coventry, MD, Award: oral antibiotics reduce reinfection after two-stage exchange: a multicenter, randomized controlled trial. Clin Orthop Relat Res.2017 Jan;475(1):56-61.
  3. Rozell JC, Courtney PM, Dattilo JR, Wu CH, Lee GC. Preoperative opiate use independently predicts narcotic consumption and complications after total joint arthroplasty. J Arthroplasty.2017 Sep;32(9):2658-62. Epub 2017 Apr 12.

What’s New in Orthopaedic Rehabilitation 2017

Specialty Update Image for OBuzzEvery month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.

This month, Nitin Jain, MD, MSPH, a co-author of the November 15, 2017 Specialty Update on Orthopaedic Rehabilitation, summarized the most clinically compelling findings from among the nearly 50 noteworthy studies summarized in the article.

Pain Management
–Results from a retrospective review1 of patients with noncancer pain highlighted that the risks of long-acting opioids extend beyond overdose, and include increased risks of cardiovascular death and all-cause mortality.

–A randomized prospective trial2 comparing celecoxib, ibuprofen, and naproxen for treating arthritis pain found no significant difference in the hazard ratios for those medications as related to risk of cardiovascular events.

Cost & Quality
–An assessment of a value-improvement initiative3 that examined hip and knee arthroplasty and hip fracture outcomes in a large regional health-care system found reduced costs and improvements in quality of care from 2012 to 2016.

Concussion
–A literature review4 of 7 studies determined that the long-term cognitive and neurogenerative effects of multiple concussions in patients ≤17 years of age remain inconclusive.

Spine
–A randomized trial5 found no difference between anesthetic-only and anesthetic-plus-steroid epidural injections in the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis.

Shoulder
–A prospective cohort study6 by the MOON Shoulder Group found that the strongest predictor of failure of nonoperative treatment for symptomatic atraumatic rotator cuff tears was lower patient expectations that such treatment would be successful. Pain level, duration of symptoms, and tear anatomy did not predict treatment failure.

References

  1. Ray WA, Chung CP, Murray KT, Hall K, Stein CM. Prescription of long-acting opioids and mortality in patients with chronic noncancer pain. JAMA. 2016 Jun 14;315(22):2415-23.
  2. Nissen SE, Yeomans ND, Solomon DH, Lüscher TF, Libby P, Husni ME,Graham DY, Borer JS, Wisniewski LM, Wolski KE, Wang Q, Menon V,Ruschitzka F, Gaffney M, Beckerman B, Berger MF, Bao W, Lincoff AM; PRECISION Trial Investigators. Cardiovascular safety of celecoxib, naproxen, or ibuprofen for arthritis. N Engl J Med. 2016 Dec 29;375(26):2519-29. Epub 2016 Nov 13.
  3. Lee VS, Kawamoto K, Hess R, Park C, Young J, Hunter C, Johnson S,Gulbransen S, Pelt CE, Horton DJ, Graves KK, Greene TH, Anzai Y, Pendleton RC. Implementation of a value-driven outcomes program to identify high variability in clinical costs and outcomes and association with reduced cost and improved quality. JAMA. 2016 Sep 13;316(10):1061-72.
  4. Yumul JN, McKinlay A. Do multiple concussions lead to cumulative cognitive deficits? A literature review. PM&R. 2016 Nov;8(11):1097-103. Epub 2016 May 18.
  5. Friedly JL, Comstock BA, Turner JA, Heagerty PJ, Deyo RA, Sullivan SD,Bauer Z, Bresnahan BW, Avins AL, Nedeljkovic SS, Nerenz DR, Standaert C,Kessler L, Akuthota V, Annaswamy T, Chen A, Diehn F, Firtch W, Gerges FJ,Gilligan C, Goldberg H, Kennedy DJ, Mandel S, Tyburski M, Sanders W, Sibell D, Smuck M, Wasan A, Won L, Jarvik JG. A randomized trial of epidural glucocorticoid injections for spinal stenosis. N Engl J Med. 2014 Jul 03;371(1):11-21.
  6. Dunn WR, Kuhn JE, Sanders R, An Q, Baumgarten KM, Bishop JY, Brophy RH,Carey JL, Harrell F, Holloway BG, Jones GL, Ma CB, Marx RG, McCarty EC,Poddar SK, Smith MV, Spencer EE, Vidal AF, Wolf BR, Wright RW; MOON Shoulder Group. 2013 Neer Award: predictors of failure of nonoperative treatment of chronic, symptomatic, full-thickness rotator cuff tears. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2016 Aug;25(8):1303-11.

By Itself, Spine Surgery Not a Risk Factor for Prolonged Opioid Use

OpioidsThe use of prescription painkillers in the US increased four-fold between 1997 and 2010, and postoperative overdoses doubled over a similar time period. In the August 2, 2017 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Schoenfeld et al. estimated the proportion of nearly 10,000 initially opioid-naïve TRICARE patients who used opioids up to 1 year after discharge for one of four common spinal surgical procedures (discectomy, decompression, lumbar posterolateral arthrodesis, or lumbar interbody arthrodesis).

Eighty-four percent of the patients filled at least 1 opioid prescription upon hospital discharge. At 30 days following discharge, 8% continued opioid use; at 3 months, 1% continued use; and at 6 months, 0.1%. Only 2 patients (0.02%) in this cohort continued prescription opioid use at 1 year following surgery.

In an adjusted analysis, the authors found that an age of 25 to 34 years, lower socioeconomic status, and a diagnosis of depression were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of continuing opioid use. Those patient-related factors notwithstanding, the authors claim that the outcomes in their study “directly contravene the narrative that patients who undergo spine surgery, once started on prescription opioids following surgery, are at high risk of sustained opioid use.”

However, in his commentary on this study, Robert J. Barth, PhD, cautions that the exclusion criteria restricted even this large sample to about 19% of representative spine surgery candidates, making the findings not widely generalizable. Having said that, the commentator adds that the study supports findings of prior research that persistent postoperative opioid use is more related to “addressable patient-level predictors” than postsurgical pain. He also notes that the findings are “supportive of guidelines that call for surgical-discharge prescriptions of opioids to be limited to ≤2 weeks.”

The Opioid Epidemic: Consequences Beyond Addiction

knee-spotlight-image.pngThe orthopaedic community worldwide—and especially those of us in the US, the nation most notorious for over-prescribing—has become very cognizant of the epidemic of opioid abuse. Ironically, the current problem was fueled partly by the “fifth vital sign” movement of 10 to 20 years ago, when physicians were encouraged (brow-beaten, in my opinion) to increase the use of opioid medications to “prevent” high pain scores.

Researchers internationally are now pursuing clarification on the appropriate use of these medications. The societal consequences of opioid addiction, which all too often starts with a musculoskeletal injury and/or orthopaedic procedure, have been well documented in the social-science and lay literature. In the May 17, 2017 issue of The Journal, Smith et al. detail an additional consequence to the chronic use of opioid drugs—the negative impact of preoperative opioids on pain outcomes following knee replacement surgery.

Approximately one-quarter of the 156 total knee arthroplasty (TKA) patients analyzed had had at least one preoperative opioid prescription.  Patients who used opioids prior to TKA obtained less pain relief from the operation than those who had not used pre-TKA opioids. The authors also found that pain catastrophizing was the only factor measured that was independently associated with pre-TKA opioid use.

To be sure, we need to disseminate this information to the primary care community so they will be more judicious about prescribing these medications for knee arthritis. Additionally, knee surgeons should consider working with primary care providers to wean their TKA-eligible patients off these medications, with the understanding that chronic use preoperatively compromises postsurgical pain relief and functional outcomes.

We have previously published in The Journal the fact that the use of opioids is largely a cultural expectation that varies by country; physicians outside the US often achieve excellent postoperative pain management success without the use of these medications. My bottom line: We must continue to press forward to limit the use of opioid medications in both pre- and postoperative settings.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief