Postoperative Opioid Utilization and Patient Satisfaction in General Surgery Procedures: A Prospective Observational Study

Maria E. Linnaus, Matthew R. Neville, Elizabeth B. Habermann, Richard John Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Wide variation of opioid prescribing persists despite attempts to quantify number of opioids utilized postoperatively. We aim to prospectively determine number of opioids used after common surgery procedures to guide future prescribing. Methods: A prospective observational trial was performed of opioids prescribed and used postoperatively. Patients filled out pre- and postoperative surveys, and number of opioids utilized was captured at postoperative visit. Results: One-hundred-and-thirteen patients met inclusion. Median opioids prescribed exceeded number of opioids taken for all procedures. Median number of opioids taken postoperatively was fewer than 10 for all categories of procedures: simple skin/soft tissue 2 (IQR 1-4), complex skin/soft tissue 1.5 (IQR 0-14), simple laparoscopy 1 (IQR 0-20) and complex laparoscopy 4 (IQR 0-20), laparotomy 0 (IQR 0-26), and open inguinal hernia 2 (IQR 0-2). Nearly 80% of patients had leftover opioids, and 31% planned to keep them. There was little difference between preoperative and postoperative level of satisfaction with a pain control regimen. Discussion: Postoperatively, patients utilize opioids less frequently than prescribed and often keep leftover pills. Patient pain control satisfaction is unrelated to number of opioids prescribed and taken postoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Surgeon
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • opioid use
  • overprescribing
  • postoperative pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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