The Use of Adjunct Psychosocial Interventions Can Decrease Postoperative Pain and Improve the Quality of Clinical Care in Orthopedic Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials


      This study aims to assess the effectiveness of psychosocial techniques to decrease postoperative pain and improve perioperative clinical care in orthopedic surgery. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the effects of psychosocial methods among adults undergoing orthopedic surgeries. The systematic review included both randomized and nonrandomized trials, but only randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) were included in the meta-analysis. Key outcomes were postoperative pain, analgesic requirement, perioperative anxiety, quality of life, and recovery. After searching the databases from January 1980 to September 2016, a total of 62 RCTs were included with a pooled sample size of 4,908. Psychosocial interventions significantly reduced postoperative pain (Hedges’ g = 0.31 [95% confidence interval = 0.14, 0.48]), and preoperative and postoperative anxiety (g = 0.26 [0.11, 0.42] and g = 0.4 [0.21, 0.59], respectively). Furthermore, psychosocial interventions improved recovery (g = 0.38 [0.22, 0.54]). However, no significant effects were found for postoperative analgesic use (g = 0.16 [−0.01, 0.32]) and quality of life (g = 0.14 [−0.05, 0.33]). Patient education and relaxation techniques produced the most consistent positive effects, showing benefits on pain, anxiety, and recovery. Cognitive or behavioral techniques improved recovery. Furthermore, larger effects were found for studies that included acute surgeries compared to elective surgeries. The results indicate that psychosocial interventions, especially patient education and relaxation training, may reduce perioperative side effects and improve recovery in patients undergoing orthopedic procedures, but the quality of evidence is generally low. More well-powered, high-quality studies are needed to increase confidence.


      In this meta-analysis of RCTs in orthopedic surgeries, significant benefits in postoperative pain, perioperative anxiety, and recovery were found, suggesting that psychosocial interventions, especially patient education and relaxation techniques, are useful in improving clinical care.

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