Rates and Risk Factors for Opioid Dependence and Overdose after Urological Surgery

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Effective pain management is a critical component of the perioperative process with opioids representing a mainstay of therapy. The opioid epidemic is a growing concern in the United States. The goal of this study was to quantify the risk of opioid dependence or overdose among patients undergoing urological surgery and to identify risk factors of opioid dependence or overdose.

Materials and Methods:

We retrospectively reviewed data on urological surgery from 2007 to 2011. Data sources included the HCUP (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project) inpatient, ambulatory surgery and emergency department data sets. Outcomes of postoperative opioid dependence and overdose were identified by previously validated ICD-9 codes. Multivariable logistic regression adjusted for surgical procedure was performed to identify predictors of opioid dependence or overdose following urological surgery.


Overall 675,527 patients underwent urological surgery, of whom 0.09% were diagnosed with opioid dependence or overdose. Patients in whom opioid dependence or overdose developed were younger (median age 51 vs 62 years), carried nonprivate insurance (69.6% vs 66%), underwent an inpatient procedure (81.0% vs 42.4%) and had a longer length of stay (median 3 vs 0 days) and a history of depression (14.4% vs 3.4%) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (20.3% vs 8.9%, all p <0.001). On adjusted multivariable analysis these factors remained independent risk factors for opioid dependence or overdose.


Postoperative opioid dependence or overdose affects 1 of 1,111 urological surgery patients. Risk factors for opioid dependence or overdose included younger age, inpatient surgery and increasing hospitalization duration, baseline depression, tobacco use and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as well as insurance provider, including Medicaid, Medicare (age less than 65 years) and noninsured status.

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