, Volume 471, Issue 7, pp 2349-2360,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 30 Mar 2013

Scheduled Analgesic Regimen Improves Rehabilitation After Hip Fracture Surgery




Postoperative pain often is the limiting factor in the rehabilitation of patients after hip fracture surgery.


We compared an approach using scheduled analgesic dosing with as-needed analgesic dosing in patients after hip fracture surgery, to compare these approaches in terms of (1) resting and dynamic pain intensity, (2) postoperative patient mobility, and (3) functional end points.


We conducted a prospective cohort study of 400 patients who underwent surgical treatment of hip fractures at our hospital. The groups were formed sequentially, such that the first 200 patients formed the intervention group (treated with scheduled analgesic intake for the first 3 weeks after surgery), and the next 200 patients were the control group (treated using a protocol of analgesic administration on request). Resting and dynamic pain intensity, mobility, and functional performance were compared between the two analgesic protocols.


As expected, analgesic consumption was lower in the control group (tramadol doses, 27 versus 63; paracetamol doses, 29 versus 63). Despite the large difference in the amounts of analgesics consumed, resting and dynamic pain intensity showed improvement in each group and there was no difference between groups in terms of postoperative pain. However, there was a positive correlation between functional outcomes and analgesic consumption in the control group. The intervention group achieved higher functional performance on discharge (elderly mobility scale, 11 versus 8; functional independence measure, 88 versus 79). On discharge, fewer patients in the intervention group were wheelchair ambulators (3 versus 32), meaning more patients in the intervention group were able to walk.


The study showed that a scheduled analgesic intake can improve the functional outcomes of patients with geriatric hip fractures after surgery.

Level of Evidence

Level II, therapeutic study. See the guidelines for authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.
This work was performed at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China) and Kowloon Hospital (Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China).