Background: Preoperative opioid use in patients undergoing low complexity operations has been associated with increased complications, but its relationship to procedures of greater complexity is unclear. We aimed to assess this impact on outcomes following pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD). Methods: A single institution, retrospective cohort of adults undergoing elective PD for cancer (1/2009-9/2015). Preoperative opioid users were defined as patients documented as taking opioids up to 90 days preoperatively. Discharge prescriptions were converted into Oral Morphine Equivalents (OME) and ten-point pain scores were abstracted. Univariate and multivariable analyses compared outcomes of naïve and preoperative opioid users overall and for laparoscopic vs open surgery. Results: Of 661 PD patients, 131 (19.8%) were preoperative opioid users. These patients had greater mean pain scores over the first three days after surgery (3.4 ± 1.6, vs 2.8 ± 1.4, p < 0.001), max pain (7.9 ± 1.9 vs 7.2 ± 2.0, p < 0.001), and discharge pain (2.3 ± 1.9 vs 1.8 ± 1.6, p = 0.01) than naïve patients. Preoperative opioid users received more opioids at discharge (mean 496 ± 764 OME) than naïve (320 ± 489 OME, p = 0.03). Thirty-day refill rates were 12.6% (19.1% preoperative vs 10.9% naïve, p = 0.02). After controlling for tumor type, pancreas texture, and duct size, naïve patients had similar odds of clinically significant post-operative pancreatic fistulas (grade B or C) (OR 1.13, p = 0.68) and delayed gastric emptying (OR 1.05, p = 0.87). After controlling for age and complications, preoperative opioid use was associated with increased odds of LOS ≥9 days (OR 1.59, p = 0.04). Conclusion: Following PD, preoperative opioid users had worse pain scores, received more opioids at discharge, refilled prescriptions more frequently, and were more likely to have prolonged LOS. As most opioid utilization research has been focused on low complexity surgery, additional work aimed at optimizing opioid use in complex oncologic operations is warranted.
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