Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (RCR) is associated with substantial postoperative pain. Oral narcotic agents are the preferred analgesic postoperatively. However, these agents are associated with several side effects and a potential for abuse. This study evaluates the efficacy of ketorolac as an adjunctive agent for postoperative pain control after arthroscopic RCR.
Adult patients undergoing arthroscopic RCR were prospectively enrolled and randomized to one of two groups. The control received our institution's standard-of-care pain protocol, including oxycodone-acetaminophen 5 to 325 mg on discharge. The ketorolac group received the standard-of-care protocol, intravenous ketorolac at the completion of the procedure, and oral ketorolac on discharge. Pain and functional outcome scores and narcotic utilization were recorded three times per day for the first 5 days after surgery. Repeat magnetic resonance imaging was done at least 6 months postoperatively.
In our study, 39 patients were included for final analysis; the mean age of the cohort was 55.7 ± 10.6 years, and 66.7% of patients were male. No differences were observed in preoperative demographics, comorbidities, cuff tear morphology, and functional scores between the two groups. Over the first 5 days after surgery, patients in the ketorolac group consumed a mean of 10.6 fewer narcotic pills, a consumption reduction of 54.6% (19.42 versus 8.82, P < 0.001). No difference was observed in functional outcome scores at up to 6 weeks postoperatively between the two groups. No difference was observed in adverse events between the two groups with no reported cases of gastritis or gastrointestinal bleeding. Twenty-two of 39 patients underwent repeat magnetic resonance imaging at a mean of 7.9 months postoperatively, of which 5 (22%) demonstrated a retear of their rotator cuff. No significant difference was observed between the ketorolac and control groups in the rate of retear (P = 1.00).
Adjunctive ketorolac substantially reduces narcotic utilization after arthroscopic RCR.