Background: Clinicians, governmental agencies, patients, and pharmaceutical companies all contribute to the United States' opioid epidemic. These same stakeholders can make meaningful contributions to resolve the epidemic by identifying ineffective habits and encouraging change. The purpose of this study was to determine if postoperative opioid prescribing practice variation exists in foot and ankle surgery. We also aimed to identify if demographic characteristics of podiatric foot and ankle surgeons were associated with their postoperative opioid prescribing practices. Methods: We administered an open, voluntary, anonymous, online questionnaire distributed on the internet via Qualtrics, an online survey platform. The questionnaire consisted of six foot and ankle surgery scenarios followed by a demographics section. We invited Podiatric foot and ankle surgeons practicing in the United States to complete the questionnaire via email from the American Podiatric Medical Association's membership list. Respondents selected the postoperative opioid(s) that they would prescribe at the time of surgery, as well as the dose, frequency, and number of "pills" (dosage units). We developed multiple linear regression models to identify associations between prescriber characteristics and two measures of opioid quantity: dosage units and MME. Results: Eight hundred and sixty podiatric foot and ankle surgeons completed the survey. The median number of dosage units never exceeded 30 regardless of the foot and ankle surgery. Years in practice correlated with reduction in opioid dosage units prescribed at the time of surgery. Conclusions: Postoperative opioid prescribing practice variation exists in foot and ankle surgery. In comparison to the orthopedic community, podiatric foot and ankle surgeons prescribe approximately 25% fewer opioids at the time of surgery than orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons. Further research is warranted to determine if additional education is needed for young surgeons.
Postoperative Opioid Prescribing Practice in Foot and Ankle Surgery
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Brandon M Brooks, Bradley M Brooks, Brady M Brooks, Adam E Fleischer, Robert G Smith, Rachel H Albright; Postoperative Opioid Prescribing Practice in Foot and Ankle Surgery. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.7547/20-223
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