The purposes of this study were to quantify the amount of opioid medication used postoperatively in the hospital setting after abdominally based microsurgical breast reconstruction, to determine factors that are associated with increased opioid use, and to identify other adjunctive medications that may contribute to decreased opioid use.
An electronic medical record data pull was performed at the University of Pennsylvania from November 2016 to October 2018. Cases were identified using Current Procedural Terminology code 19364. Only traditional recovery after surgery protocol patients were included. Patient comorbidities, surgical details, and pain scores were captured. Postoperative medications including non–patient-controlled analgesia opioid use and adjunctive nonopioid pain medications were recorded. Non–patient-controlled analgesia total opioid use was calculated and converted to oral morphine milligram equivalents (mme). Statistical analysis was performed using t test analyses and linear regression.
A total of 328 patients satisfied our inclusion criteria. Five hundred forty free flaps were performed (212 bilateral vs 116 unilateral, 239 immediate vs 89 delayed). Bilateral patients used on average 115.2 mme (95% confidence interval [CI], 103.4–127.0 mme) compared with 89.0 mme in unilateral patients (95% CI, 70.0–108.0 mme; P = 0.015). Patients with abdominal mesh placement (n = 249) required 113.0 mme (95% CI, 100.5–125.5 mme) compared with 83.8 mme (95% CI, 68.8–98.7 mme) for patients without mesh (n = 79; P = 0.016). Each additional hour of surgery increased postoperative mme by 9.4 (P < 0.01). Patients with a nonzero preoperative pain score required 100.3 mme (95% CI, 90.2–110.4 mme) compared with 141.1 mme (95% CI, 102.7–179.7 mme) for patients with preoperative pain score greater than 0/10 (P < 0.01). Patients with postoperative index pain score ≤5/10 required 89.2 mme (95% CI, 78.6–99.8 mme) compared with 141.1 mme (95% CI, 119.9–162.2 mme) for patients with postoperative index pain score >5/10 (P < 0.01). After regression analysis, a dose of intravenous acetaminophen 1000 mg was found to decrease postoperative mme by 11.7 (P = 0.024). A dose of oral ibuprofen 600 mg was found to decrease postoperative mme by 8.3 (P < 0.01).
Bilateral reconstruction and longer surgery resulted in increased postoperative mme. Patients with no preoperative pain required less opioids than did patients with preexisting pain. Patients with good initial postoperative pain control required less opioids than did patients with poor initial postoperative pain control. Intravenous acetaminophen and oral ibuprofen were found to significantly decrease postoperative mme.