Intraosseous Morphine Decreases Postoperative Pain and Pain Medication Use in Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial

Ava A. Brozovich, Stephen J. Incavo, Bradley S. Lambert, Thomas C. Sullivan, Austin E. Wininger, Terry A. Clyburn, Francesca Taraballi, Kwan J. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Intraosseous (IO) infusion of medication is a novel technique for total knee arthroplasty (TKA) antibiotic prophylaxis. To decrease postoperative pain in TKA patients, we investigated addition of morphine to a standard IO antibiotic injection.

METHODS: A double-blind, randomized controlled trial was performed on 48 (24 each) consecutive patients undergoing primary TKA. The control group received an IO injection of antibiotics as per the standard protocol. The experimental group received an IO antibiotic injection with 10 mg of morphine. Pain, nausea, and opioid use were assessed up to 14 days postoperatively. Morphine and interleukin-6 serum levels were obtained 10 hours postoperatively in a subgroup of 20 patients.

RESULTS: The experimental group had lower Visual Analog Scale pain score at 1, 2, 3, and 5 hours postoperatively (P = .0032, P = .005, P = .020, P = .010). This trend continued for postoperative day 1, 2, 8, and 9 (40% reduction, P = .001; 49% reduction, P = .036; 38% reduction, P = .025; 33% reduction, P = .041). The experimental group had lower opioid consumption than the control group for the first 48 hours and second week postsurgery (P < .05). Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for Joint Replacement scores for the experimental group showed significant improvement at 2 and 8 weeks postsurgery (P < .05). Serum morphine levels in the experimental group were significantly less than the control group 10 hours after IO injection (P = .049).

CONCLUSION: IO morphine combined with a standard antibiotic solution demonstrates superior postoperative pain relief immediately and up to 2 weeks. IO morphine is a safe and effective method to lessen postoperative pain in TKA patients.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, Level 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S139-S146
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number6S
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • intraosseous delivery
  • intraosseous morphine
  • pain management
  • postoperative pain
  • total knee arthroplasty
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee/adverse effects
  • Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Morphine/therapeutic use
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use
  • Pain, Postoperative/drug therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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