August 23, 2019

Background and Objective

There is concern about persistent opioid prescribing after surgery, with recent data indicating that ~6% of US patients are affected.

  • The objective of this study was to assess persistent opioid prescribing after minor surgery in TriNetX, a federated research network that provides statistical summaries of de-identified patient data.
  • Differences by age, sex, and history of mental health disorders were explored.


Opioid-naïve patients aged ≥18 years who underwent minor surgery (i.e. varicose vein removal, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, laparoscopic appendectomy, hemorrhoidectomy, thyroidectomy, transurethral prostate surgery, parathyroidectomy or carpal tunnel release; code lists available on request) were analyzed in TriNetX “Analytics” (TriNetX, Cambridge, MA), which contains electronic medical record data of ~38M US patients (analysis 8-Feb-2019).

  • Patients had to have their first opioid prescription record (VA code CN101) in the perioperative period between 1 month before and 2 weeks after surgery.
  • Persistent opioid prescribing was defined as at least one opioid prescription between 90 and 180 days after surgery, a time at which patients are expected to have recovered from minor surgery.
  • Patients with an anesthesia procedure code during 180 days after surgery were excluded as to minimize inclusion of patients with potential postoperative opioid prescribing because of other procedures or diagnoses.