Access Now: AORN COVID-19 Clinical Support

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...

AORN Expo 2021 Moves to August
CMS Issues Updated Reopening Recommendations
4 Million Surgeries Canceled Due to COVID-19
When Can Vendor Reps Return to ORs?
Coronavirus Outbreak Reignites Feud Between Anesthesia Groups
Outpatient ORs Reopening for Business
HHS Clarifies Conditions for COVID-19 Grants

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

3 Key Advances in Post-op Pain Management

New tools focus on providing targeted analgesia with fewer opioids.

Chronic Pain in the Era of the Opioid Crisis

Image-guided interventions like epidural steroid injections, radiofrequency ablation and spinal cord stimulators are in high demand.

Pain Is Personal

Patients do well if you do away with a one-size-fits-all approach to managing their post-op discomfort.