Critical Risk Factors for Opioid Demand after Pelvic and Acetabular Fracture Surgery


The characteristics that contribute to opioid demand in pelvic and acetabular fracture surgery are not well understood. We hypothesize that fracture pattern and psychiatric comorbidities will be associated with increased opioid demand. This study evaluated perioperative opioid prescription filling in 743 patients undergoing operative fixation of pelvic and acetabular injuries. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models were used to evaluate associations between baseline factors and opioid outcomes. Patients filled prescriptions for 111.2, 89.3, and 200.3 oxycodone 5-mg pills at the 1-month preop to 90-days postop, 3-months postop to 1-year postop, and 1-month preop to 1-year postop timeframes. Operatively treated wall, transverse and two-column acetabular fractures were associated with the highest opioid demand. Drug abuse and pre-injury opioid use were the primary non-surgical drivers of opioid demand. Acetabular fractures, pre-injury opioid filling, and drug abuse were the main risk factors for increased perioperative opioid prescription filling. Level of Evidence: Level III, retrospective, prognostic cohort study. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 32(1):041–046, 2023)

Key words: pelvic fracture, acetabular fracture, opioid, mental health, substance use

Daniel Cunningham, MD, MHSc; Micaela LaRose, BS; Patton Robinette, MD; Michael A. Maceroli, MD; Steven A. Olson, MD; and Mark J. Gage, MD