Oral Ketorolac as an Adjuvant Agent for Postoperative Pain Control After Arthroscopic Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Prospective, Randomized Controlled Study


Introduction:Successful outpatient anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction hinges on effective analgesia. Routinely, oral narcotic agents have been the preferred analgesic postoperatively in orthopaedic surgery. However, these agents have several known adverse effects and are associated with a potential for abuse. This study evaluates the efficacy of ketorolac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug with analgesic properties, as an adjuvant agent for postoperative pain control after ACL reconstruction. Methods: Adult patients undergoing primary ACL reconstruction were prospectively enrolled. Exclusion criteria involved patients with a history of bleeding diathesis, renal dysfunction, chronic analgesia use, or alcohol abuse. Eligible patients were randomized into one of two groups. The control group received a standard-of-care pain protocol involving oxycodone-acetaminophen 5 to 325 on discharge. The ketorolac group additionally received intravenous ketorolac postoperatively and 3 days of oral ketorolac on discharge. Pain levels and total narcotic utilization were recorded three times per day for the first 5 days after surgery. Pain and functional outcomes were obtained at 2 and 6 weeks postoperatively. Results:The final analysis included 48 patients; the mean age of the cohort was 32 ± 11.6 years, and 60.4% of patients were female. No differences were observed in preoperative demographics, comorbidities, and preoperative functional scores between the two groups. Over the first 5 days after surgery, patients in the ketorolac group consumed a mean of 45.4% fewer narcotic pills than the control group (P $<$ 0.001). In addition, mean postoperative pain scores were 22.36 points lower for patients in the ketorolac group (P $<$ 0.001). There was no difference in functional outcome scores at up to 6 weeks postoperatively or adverse events between the two groups with no reported cases of gastrointestinal bleeding. Discussion:The use of adjunctive intravenous and short-term oral ketorolac substantially reduces narcotic utilization and pain levels after ACL reconstruction.

JAAOS - Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Jiao Yu
Jiao Yu
Postdoctoral Associate

Aging and Life Course, Health Disparities, Machining Learning, Quantitative Methods