BACKGROUND: It is uncertain if patients undergoing revision knee arthroplasty for "pain without loosening" are relieved of pain. This study aimed to compare pre- and postoperative analgesic consumption by patients undergoing revision for "pain without loosening" versus "aseptic loosening" and to determine predictors for postoperative long-term opioid use.
METHODS: A retrospective nationwide study of 1,037 revisions for "pain without loosening" and 2,317 revisions for "aseptic loosening" during 1997-2018 from the Danish Knee Arthroplasty Register was carried out. Analgesic use was defined by prescription reimbursement, and long-term opioid use by prescription reimbursement in 4 consecutive quarters.
RESULTS: In the preoperative year, 37% and 29% of patients revised for "pain without loosening" and "aseptic loosening" were opioid users compared to 32% and 30% in the postoperative year. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use was significantly lower postoperatively for both indications (35% versus 28% for "pain without loosening" and 33% versus 25% for "aseptic loosening"). Use of other analgesics was unchanged. Long-term opioid use increased postoperatively by 4% for patients with "pain without loosening" (P = .029) and by 3% for "aseptic loosening" (P = .003). New long-term opioid users (without preoperative long-term use) were 9% for "pain without loosening" and 8% for "aseptic loosening". Predictors of new long-term opioid use were other opioid-requiring diagnoses or procedures within the first postoperative year, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) ≥3, and preoperative long-term NSAID use.
CONCLUSION: The consumption of opioids decreased slightly after knee arthroplasty revision for the indication "pain without loosening", but not for "aseptic loosening". The amount of new long-term opioid users increased for both indications.