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Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty Perioperative Pain Management

What Should Be in the Cocktail

Pepper, Andrew M., MD1,2; Mercuri, John J., MD, MA1,2; Behery, Omar A., MD, MPH1; Vigdorchik, Jonathan M., MD1

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.RVW.18.00023
Review Articles

  • * There are multiple available agents and modalities for controlling pain perioperatively during total joint arthroplasty to improve the patient experience, and their unique mechanisms and applications should be considered for use preoperatively, intraoperatively, and postoperatively, keeping in mind that each has differing efficacy and side-effect profiles.
  • * Preoperative pain control or preemptive analgesia using anti-inflammatory drugs and opioid analgesics appears to be effective in reducing postoperative pain, although the recommended timing and type of agents are unclear.
  • * With regard to intraoperative anesthetic choice and pain control, spinal anesthesia appears to have fewer systemic risks than general anesthesia, and periarticular injections of local anesthetic agents, regardless of technique, and with or without the addition of sympathetic modulators, opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids, have been shown to improve pain scores postoperatively and to overall carry a low risk profile.
  • * When considering postoperative pain control, there are several modalities including cryotherapy, peripheral nerve blockade, and parenteral and enteral medication options including acetaminophen, cyclooxygenase inhibitors, neuromodulators, tramadol, ketamine, and opioid patches, but there is no clearly preferred medication regimen and individual patient risk profiles must be considered when choosing appropriate pain management agents.
  • * Multimodal pain management can decrease opioid usage, improve pain scores, increase patient satisfaction, and enhance early recovery. The ideal preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative pain medication regimen remains unclear, and an individualized approach to perioperative pain management is recommended. Despite this, good results are demonstrated with the existing variations in pain management protocols in the literature.
  • * Treatment of severe postoperative pain in a multimodal fashion carries the risk for serious side effects, including respiratory depression, mental status changes influencing safe gait mechanics, hypotension, renal and hepatic dysfunction, hematologic variations, gastrointestinal considerations including gastric ulcers, constipation or ileus, nausea or vomiting, infection at injection sites, and peripheral nerve injury with peripheral blockade.

1Department of Adult Reconstruction, NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, New York, NY

2Insall Scott Kelly Institute, New York, NY

Copyright © 2018 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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