Opioid Prescribing and Use Patterns in Postsurgical Facial Trauma Patients

Jodi B. Lapidus, Katherine B. Santosa, Gary B. Skolnick, Avira Som, Gerald Cho, Jennifer F. Waljee, Jacob D. Aubuchon, Kamlesh B. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Facial fractures are painful injuries routinely managed by opioids after surgical repair. Studies have identified patient risk factors and prescribing patterns associated with opioid use in medicine and general surgery; however, little is known about these entities in the facial trauma population. Methods: A retrospective cohort study of opioid-naive patients undergoing surgical repair of facial fractures was conducted using the Truven Health MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters (2006 to 2015) and Medicaid Multi-State Databases (2011 to 2015). Eligible procedures included nasal, nasoorbitoethmoid, orbital, mandible, and Le Fort fracture repair. Opioid type, daily dosage, and prescription duration were analyzed. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to determine independent predictors of prescription refill. Results: A total of 20,191 patients undergoing surgical repair of facial fractures were identified. Of these, 15,861 patients (78.6 percent) filled a perioperative opioid prescription. Refill (58.7 percent) and potentially inappropriate prescribing (39.4 percent) were common among this population. Patient factors including prior substance use (adjusted OR, 1.84; 95 percent CI, 1.63 to 2.07) and history of mental health disorder (adjusted OR, 1.43; 95 percent CI, 1.06 to 1.91) were independent predictors of refill. Increased odds of refill were seen in patients prescribed tramadol (OR, 1.98; 95 percent CI, 1.48 to 2.66) and those who underwent multiple surgical repairs (OR, 3.38; 95 percent CI, 2.54 to 4.50). Conclusions: Refill and potentially inappropriate prescribing occurred at high rates in facial trauma patients undergoing surgical repair. Additional studies are needed to develop guidelines for proper opioid prescribing in this population. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Risk, III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-789
Number of pages10
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


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