January 13, 2015
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Opioid use before RSA has potential link to lower shoulder function

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Recent study data indicated the use of opioids prior to undergoing reverse shoulder arthroplasty was linked to significantly lower preoperative shoulder function values and worse outcomes than those seen in patients who did not use opioids.

Researchers studied 68 patients from a prospective shoulder arthroplasty registry who underwent reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) to treat rotator cuff arthropathy between 2004 and 2011 at a single institution. Thirty-two patients using opioids preoperatively were compared with 36 patients who did not. Preoperative and final follow-up measurements of shoulder function values and motion measurements were the primary metrics evaluated. Minimum postoperative follow-up was 2 years.

Although patients in the opioid cohort were observed to have significantly lower preoperative shoulder function values, the magnitude of change preoperatively to final follow-up between cohorts was not significantly different, according to the researchers.

Significant improvement in shoulder function values and motion measurements were observed in both cohorts; however, the non-opioid cohort exhibited significantly better outcomes. The researchers attributed this to the fact that patients using opioids preoperatively having a lower baseline than those not using opioids and, thus, should not expect to reach the same level of positive outcomes.

Disclosure: Morris has no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.