A new study suggests that in some patients undergoing a total knee replacement, taking opioid painkillers before the operation may increase the risk of being on opioids much longer afterwards.
The drugs may also increase the risk of complications after surgery, Medscape reports.
Total knee replacement, or total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which parts of the knee joint are replaced with artificial parts.
“Narcotic use can be dangerous. We need to understand how much to give and why we’re giving it,” lead researcher Robert Westermann, MD of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Iowa said at the recent American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2016 Annual Meeting. He added that initiatives that encourage orthopedic surgeons to decrease the use of opioids are needed.
In his study, Dr. Westermann identified 112,569 patients who underwent total knee replacement from 2007 to 2014. Of these, 44 percent had no history...