Remote smart pill cap monitoring of post-surgical pain management in thyroid and parathyroid surgery

Published:December 29, 2022DOI:


      • Remote patient monitoring with smart pill caps is a novel way of tracking postoperative pain medication usage.
      • After thyroid and parathyroid surgery, pain scores are highest in the first 24 h and decrease thereafter.
      • After thyroid and parathyroid surgery, patients can rely on non-opioid medications.



      With recent efforts to decrease opioid use following surgery, this study aims to answer: what pain regimen do patients follow at home? Is it controlling pain?


      This is a prospective, pilot study of thyroid and parathyroid surgery patients. Patients were prescribed acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and tramadol dispensed in smart pill (Pillsy) bottles that record “events” corresponding to medication use. Patients received messages querying their current pain level. Patients were compared to historical controls.


      26 patients were in the Pillsy group and 30 in the control group. In the Pillsy group, pain scores averaged 3.67 out of 10 in the first 24 h after surgery and decreased each day. Patients took an average of 6.45 doses of acetaminophen, 6.64 doses of ibuprofen, and 1.82 doses of tramadol in the first week.


      Pain scores are highest in the first 24 h after surgery and decrease thereafter. This acceptable level of pain can be achieved with non-opioid medications.

      Graphical abstract


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