Association Between Preoperative Narcotic Use with Perioperative Complication Rates, Patient Reported Pain Scores, and Ambulatory Status After Complex Spinal Fusion (≥5 Levels) for Adult Deformity Correction.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: The widespread over-use of narcotics has been increasing. However, whether narcotic use impacts surgical outcomes after complex spinal fusion remains understudied. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether there is an association between preoperative narcotic use with perioperative complication rates, patient-reported pain scores, and ambulatory status after complex spinal fusions. METHODS: The medical records of 134 adult (age ≥18 years) patients with spinal deformity undergoing elective, primary complex spinal fusion (≥5 levels) for deformity correction in a major academic institution from 2005-2015 were reviewed. Patient demographics, comorbidities, intraoperative and postoperative complication rates, pain scores, and ambulatory status were collected for each patient. RESULTS: Patient demographics and comorbidities were similar between both cohorts, except that the Narcotic-User cohort had a greater mean age (57.5 years vs. 50.7 years; P = 0.045) and prevalence of depression (39.4% vs. 16.2%; P = 0.003). Complication rates were similar between both cohorts. The Narcotic-User cohort had significantly higher pain scores at baseline (6.7 ± 2.4 vs. 4.0 ± 3.4; P < 0.001) and at the first postoperative pain score reported (6.7 ± 2.8 vs. 5.3 ± 2.9; P = 0.013), but had a significantly greater improvement from baseline to last pain score (Narcotic-User: -2.5 ± 3.9 vs. Non-User: -0.5 ± 4.7; P = 0.031). The Narcotic-User cohort had significantly greater ambulation on the first postoperative ambulatory day compared with the Non-User cohort (103.8 ± 144.4 vs. 56.4 ± 84.0; P = 0.031). CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that the preoperative use of narcotics may impact patient perception of pain and improvement after complex spinal fusions (≥5 levels). Consideration of patients' narcotic status preoperatively may facilitate tailored pain management and physical therapy regimens.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Elsamadicy, AA; Drysdale, N; Adil, SM; Charalambous, L; Lee, M; Koo, A; Freedman, IG; Kundishora, AJ; Camara-Quintana, J; Qureshi, T; Kolb, L; Laurans, M; Abbed, K; Karikari, IO

Published Date

  • August 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 128 /

Start / End Page

  • e231 - e237

PubMed ID

  • 31009775

Pubmed Central ID

  • 31009775

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1878-8769

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.wneu.2019.04.107


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States