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Papers of the Week

2022 Apr




Editorial Commentary: Multimodal, Opioid-Free Pain Management After Rotator Cuff Repair May Be Safe and Effective, and Decreases the Risk of Drug Abuse.


In 2020, approximately 94,000 people died in the United States due to drug overdose, a grim 78% increase since release of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) information statement on opioid abuse nearly 5 years ago. Annual opioid-related mortality rates now far surpass those stemming from either car crashes or gun violence. Multiple risk factors exist for opioid misuse and abuse, including a major risk factor under the orthopaedic surgeon's control-exposure to opioid medication. Prescription protocols that decrease a patient's access to narcotic medication could lead to a decrease in overall opioid abuse, while also avoiding second-order effects, such as drug diversion. Multimodal, nonopioid pain protocols often employ peripheral nerve blocks, acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs), gabapentinoids, and antispasmodic muscle relaxants, and this has yielded promising results after arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery. As good stewards of the musculoskeletal community, we should proactively employ evidence-based practices for establishing realistic postoperative patient expectations, common analgesic care pathways, and standardized pill counts stratified by procedure type.