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Patient expectations for opioid analgesia following orthopaedic surgery
  1. Thomas M Spears1,
  2. James M Harrison2,
  3. Rebecca B Spooner2,
  4. Thomas J Douglas2,
  5. George C Balazs2
  1. 1 Department of Orthopedics, US Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Yokosuka, Japan
  2. 2 Bone & Joint Sports Medicine Institute, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Virginia, USA
  1. Correspondence to George C Balazs, Investigation Performed at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, 620 John Paul Jones Cir, Portsmouth, VA 23708, USA; gcbalazs{at}

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Orthopaedic surgeons are the third highest opioid prescribing speciality in the USA.1 Studies have consistently shown that most postoperative opioids go unused,2–5 and that there is a direct relationship between the quantity of opioids prescribed and the likelihood of prolonged use/misuse of opioids following surgery.6 Currently published guidelines place a strong emphasis on managing patient expectations for postoperative analgesia, but no study has reported actual patient expectations for opioid management following orthopaedic surgery. The aim of this study was to examine patient expectations for opioid analgesia following hypothetical orthopaedic surgery.

Following Institutional Review Board approval, a three-question anonymous survey was provided to all patients seen for any reason in our multi-subspeciality orthopaedic surgery clinic in May 2018. They were asked to submit the form anonymously in a locked collection box located in our waiting area, prior to being seen by clinical staff.

The survey was composed of three questions. The first confirmed that the patient’s age was between 18 and 89 years, per the requirements of our Institutional Review Board. The second inquired whether the patient would expect an opioid analgesic postoperatively if they were to …

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  • Contributors TMS planned the project, obtained regulatory approval, coordinated the surveys and assisted with final manuscript preparation. JMH assisted with data analysis and final manuscript preparation. RBS assisted with planning the project, obtaining regulatory approval and final manuscript preparation. TJD planned the project, assisted in obtaining regulatory approval and assisted in final manuscript preparation. GCB performed data analysis, prepared the final manuscript and is responsible for the overall content of this submission as guarantor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.