Patient-reported pain scores and opioid use have not been quantified after outpatient adolescent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR).
Patients aged 12 to 18 years undergoing primary isolated ACLR, with or without meniscal treatment, were prospectively recruited. Patients actively taking opioids or with previous extended use of opioids were excluded. Two orthopaedic surgeons performed ACLR and determined the use of a hamstring or bone-patellar tendon-bone autograft. For postoperative pain management, patients were prescribed 40 tablets of hydrocodone/acetaminophen 5/325 mg. Patients were instructed to document daily pill consumption and side effects through a daily log for 6 weeks. Patients completed the American Pain Society Patient Outcome Questionnaire at the end of weeks 1 and 6.
One hundred three patients were enrolled, with age: 12.5 to 18.9 years (mean 16.2 y ± 1.3), weight: 41.3 to 113.6 kg (mean 72.4 kg ± 17.2), and body mass index: 17.8 to 40.1 (mean 25.9 ± 4.9). Sixty-nine patients received a hamstring autograft, and 34 received a bone-patellar tendon-bone autograft. Fifty-six received additional meniscal procedures. The median number of postoperative opioids taken by patients was 17 (range 0 to 40). No notable differences were found in total pill consumption with regard to age, weight, body mass index, sex, block type, autograft type, or meniscal treatment at 1 week post-op or 6 weeks post-op. No correlation was found between the self-reported “worst pain in the past 24 hours” at the end of the first postoperative week or after 6 weeks (r = 0.112, P
= 0.26, and r = 0.093, P
= 0.36). No correlation was found between the level of satisfaction with pain treatment and total number of pills taken during the first postoperative week or at the end of 6 weeks (r = −0.090, P
= 0.37, and r = −0.172, P
Patients take most pain medication during the first postoperative week after adolescent ACLR, although patient and surgical variables had no notable influence on pill consumption.
Level of Evidence:
Level IV, case series