To compare the odds of early and prolonged post-operative opioid use in patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery (MIS) versus open surgery for nephrectomy.
For opioid-naïve patients in Ontario who underwent nephrectomy for kidney cancer (1994-2017, n=7900), post-discharge opioid use was determined by prescriptions in the Ontario Drug Benefit database (age ≥65 years) and the Narcotics Monitoring System (all patients from 2012). Early opioid use was defined as ≥ 1 prescription 1-90 days after surgery. Two separate definitions of prolonged opioid use were examined: (1) prescription(s) for ≥ 60 days during post-operative days 90-365; (2) ≥ 1 prescriptions between both of: 1-90 days AND 91-180 days after surgery. Predictors of opioid use were assessed using multivariable generalized estimating equation logistic regression, accounting for surgeon clustering.
Overall, 67.4% of patients received early opioid prescriptions; however, prolonged use was low, ranging from 1.6 to 4.4% of patients depending on the definition. In multivariable analysis, open nephrectomy was associated with higher odds of early opioid use compared to MIS nephrectomy (Odds Ratio [OR] 1.36, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.19-1.55). Surgery type was not significantly associated with prolonged opioid use for either definition (OR 1.22, CI 0.79 1.89 and OR 1.06, CI 0.83, 1.35).
In this population-level study of patients undergoing nephrectomy for kidney cancer, patients who received open surgery were at increased odds of receiving early post-operative opioids compared to MIS. Prolonged opioid use was low overall and was not significantly with associated with type of surgery.

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