Home >  News >  August, 2017

Do Drug-Free Interventions Reduce Pain or Opioid Consumption After Total Knee Arthroplasty?

Researchers find that electrotherapy and acupuncture might reduce and delay opioid consumption, but do little to control pain.

Published: August 17, 2017

PINNED DOWN Researchers found that acupuncture might reduce or delay opioid consumption, but likely does little to improve pain.

Using electrotherapy and acupuncture instead of opioids to manage post-op pain after knee replacement looks good on paper, but researchers found that most nonpharmacological interventions do little to reduce post-op pain and opioid consumption after total knee arthroplasty.

"Drug-Free Interventions to Reduce Pain or Opioid Consumption After Total Knee Arthroplasty," a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined the 5 most commonly performed drug-free interventions after total knee arthroplasty: continuous passive motion, pre-operative exercise, cryotherapy, electrotherapy and acupuncture.

Of these, electrotherapy and acupuncture may be your best bets, as researchers found "moderate" evidence that they helped somewhat to reduce and delay opioid consumption. However, they did little to relieve pain.

Meanwhile, "very low-certainty evidence" showed cryotherapy may reduce opioid consumption, but doesn't appear to reduce pain, the study finds, while continuous passive motion and pre-operative exercise don't seem to help in either area.

Researchers from Stanford University examined data from 39 randomized clinical trials encompassing 2,391 patients. The evidence in favor of acupuncture and electrotherapy is moderate, they say, and the evidence for cryotherapy is "very low-certainty."

"Because surgery has been identified as an avenue for addiction, it is important to recognize effective alternatives to standard pharmacological therapy, which remains the first option for treatment," say the authors.

Jim Burger


Also in the News...

Who's Using the Robot?
Inmate Claims He Was Needlessly Handcuffed and Shackled During and After Emergency Appendectomy
Editorial: Orthopedists Should Hand in Their Football Sideline Passes
Johnson & Johnson Hit With $57M Judgment in Pelvic Mesh Suit
Feds: Sightpath Lured Eye Surgeons With Luxury Trips for Nearly a Decade
Anatomy of a Scam: Materials Manager and His Accomplice Allegedly Bilked Facility Into Buying Supplies It Never Received
Jury Clears GI Doc of Negligence in Colon Cancer Suit

New to Outpatient Surgery Magazine?
Sign-up to continue reading this article.
Register Now
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

Say Yes to Opioid-Free Surgery

A hospital eliminated opioids from surgery and removed prescription painkillers from its post-op pain control protocol.

Maximize Multimodal Pain Management

Controlling post-op pain with fewer opioids is more important than ever.

Opioids Overprescribed After Minor Surgeries