A handful of common surgical procedures account for large shares of all opioids dispensed after surgery in children and adults, according to two studies recently published by researchers at the University of Michigan.

The studies, published this week in Pediatrics and JAMA Network Open, report that the top three procedures for children ages 0-11 account for 59% of opioids dispensed after surgery (tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies 50%, upper extremity fractures 5% and removal of deep implants 4%). Among those ages 12-21, the top three procedures account for about a third of post-surgery opioid prescriptions (tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies 13%, knee arthroscopies 13% and cesarean deliveries 8%).

For adults ages 18-44, C-sections account for the highest share of opioids dispensed post-surgery (19%), followed by hysterectomies (7%) and knee arthroscopies (6%). Among those ages 45-64, four of the top five procedures were orthopedic procedures, collectively accounting for 27% of total opioid prescriptions dispensed after surgery.

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