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Relaxation Techniques May Decrease Opioid Consumption After Rotator Cuff Repair

Relaxation Techniques May Decrease Opioid Consumption After Rotator Cuff Repair

Use of relaxation techniques was linked with significantly decreased narcotic consumption after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair compared with a standard postoperative regimen, according to results presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting.

Danielle G. Weekes, MD, and colleagues randomly assigned 151 patients undergoing arthroscopic rotator cuff repair to either receive educational materials and instruction on relaxation breathing techniques or to undergo a standard postoperative regimen. Researchers prescribed opioid therapy and cryotherapy to both groups, and patients recorded pain level, opioid consumption and frequency of performing the relaxation techniques for 5 days postoperatively.

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“Surveys that we used were the [single assessment numerical evaluation] SANE and the valid [American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons] ASES, and we followed our patients preoperatively [and] postoperatively at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 4.5 months and 6 months,” Weekes said in her presentation here.

Weekes noted no significant difference in pain at all time points between the two groups.

“At 2 weeks, what we found out was that the relaxation group consumed less opioid medications [at] 15 vs. 25 in the immediate postoperative period,” Weekes said.

She added that 63% of patients reported that they felt the relaxation exercises helped reduce their pain. At 2 weeks postoperatively, approximately 50% of patients continued to perform the relaxation techniques, according to Weekes.

“We looked at the ASES validated scores, and we saw no differences between our control group and our relaxation group,” Weekes said. “We could jump to conclusions and say that the relaxation group did slightly better, but is that relevant? Not really.” – by Casey Tingle


Weekes DG, et al. Abstract 200. Presented at: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting; March 12-16, 2019; Las Vegas.

Disclosure: Weekes reports no relevant financial disclosures.

Source: Healio

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