Some of the most common concerns about surgery are the amount of pain involved and what to expect when recovering. Well-controlled pain can influence your recovery. Orthopedic surgery often involves repairing or replacing bones so pain is expected. However, everyone experiences pain differently. Your doctor will have a pain management plan that includes different combinations of medications, including opioid and non-opioid options. In addition to managing pain after surgery, the plan is aimed at helping you reach important recovery goals such as moving, walking, and eating. Talk to your doctor about a pain management plan that is right for you and your type of surgery. Create your discussion guide now.

Orthopedic surgery covers many types of procedures on the skeletal system, including joints, bones, and ligaments. Some common orthopedic procedures are

  • Foot and ankle fracture repairFoot and ankle fracture
  • Spine surgerySpine surgery (such as spinal fusion)
  • Knee, hip, or shoulder replacementKnee, hip, or shoulder
  • Sports-related surgerySports-related surgery
    (such as ACL or rotator cuff)
about knee

About 15% of patients

who had a total knee replacement became long-term users of opioids

cosco help

There is a 44% likelihood

of patients 65 years and older who are prescribed opioids becoming long-term users

side effect

SIDE EFFECTS from opioids can slow down your recovery and may cause nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Opioids may make you feel drowsy or confused.

sad thinking

MORE THAN HALF of patients who have orthopedic surgery receive opioids that are more powerful than usually recommended—this can increase risk of addiction.


Women are 40% MORE LIKELY than men to become long-term users of opioids after surgery.

While many patients may receive opioids after surgery, there are other options for managing pain after surgery that may help you during recovery. That's why it's important to discuss these options with your doctor.


  • EXPAREL is given during surgery as part of an opioid-minimizing approach and controls pain for the first few days after surgery, when you need it most
  • EXPAREL works by numbing the area of your body where your surgery was performed, unlike opioids, which affect your whole body

In orthopedic surgeries, patients given EXPAREL*

Reported less pain

Reported less pain

Required fewer opioids

Required fewer opioids

discharge ready within 12 hours

Were more discharge ready within 12 hours

10% of patients did not take opioids after knee replacement surgery with EXPAREL

*Based on clinical studies of surgeries using EXPAREL as an alternative to standard of care.

The clinical benefit of the decrease in opioid consumption was not demonstrated in the pivotal trials.

Based on clinical studies of total knee replacement surgery with and without EXPAREL.

ACL=anterior cruciate ligament