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Postoperative analgesic requirements of 410 patients undergoing elective orthopaedic limb surgery were studied. Premedication and anaesthetic were standardized with no narcotic. Twenty-three patients required no analgesic at all during their hospital stay. The importance of acknowledging the existence of this group of patients is discussed. The distribution of time to first analgesic requirement for the other patients was obtained. The importance of knowing the distribution for particular operative procedures and the effect of analgesic interventions such as premedication is discussed.