Cost-effective peri-operative pain management: ASSURING A HAPPY PATIENT AFTER TOTAL KNEE ARTHROPLASTY

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The aim of this study was to determine the optimal regimen for the management of pain following total knee arthroplasty (TKA) by comparing the outcomes and cost-effectiveness of different protocols implemented at a large, urban, academic medical centre.

Patients and Methods

Between September 2013 and September 2015, we used a series of modifications to our standard regimen for the management of pain after TKA. In May 2014, there was a department-wide transition from protocols focused on femoral nerve blocks (FNB) to periarticular injections of liposomal bupivacaine. In February 2015, patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) was removed from the protocol while continuing liposomal bupivacaine injections. Quality measures and hospital costs were compared between the three protocols.


The cohort being treated with PCA-less liposomal bupivacaine injections had a significantly higher percentage of patients who were discharged to their home (p = 0.010) and a significantly shorter length of stay (p < 0.001). Patient-reported Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores relating to pain being “well-controlled” and “overall pain management” also favoured this cohort (p = 0.214 and p = 0.463, respectively), in which cost was significantly lower compared with the other two cohorts (p = 0.005).


The replacement of FNBs injections and the removal of PCAs, both of which are known to be associated with high rates of adverse outcomes, and the addition of liposomal bupivacaine periarticular injections to a multimodal pain regimen, led to improvements in many quality measures, HCAHPS pain scores, and cost-effectiveness.

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