Opioid Use Prior to Adult Spine Deformity Correction Surgery is Associated With Worse Pre- and Postoperative Back Pain and Prolonged Opioid Demands.


Prospective multicenter database post-hoc analysis. Opioids are frequently prescribed for painful spinal conditions to provide pain relief and to allow for functional improvement, both before and after spine surgery. Amidst a current opioid epidemic, it is important for providers to understand the impact of opioid use and its relationship with patient-reported outcomes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate pre-/postoperative opioid consumption surrounding ASD and assess patient-reported pain outcomes in older patients undergoing surgery for spinal deformity. Patients ≥60 years of age from 12 international centers undergoing spinal fusion of at least 5 levels and a minimum 2-year follow-up were included. Patient-reported outcome scores were collected using the Numeric Rating Scale for back and leg pain (NRS-B; NRS-L) at baseline and at 2 years following surgery. Opioid use, defined based on a specific question on case report forms and question 11 from the SRS-22r questionnaire, was assessed at baseline and at 2-year follow-up. Of the 219 patients who met inclusion criteria, 179 (81.7%) had 2-year data on opioid use. The percentages of patients reporting opioid use at baseline (n = 75, 34.2%) and 2 years after surgery (n = 55, 30.7%) were similar (P = .23). However, at last follow-up 39% of baseline opioid users (Opi) were no longer taking opioids, while 14% of initial non-users (No-Opi) reported opioid use. Regional pre- and postoperative opioid use was 5.8% and 7.7% in the Asian population, 58.3% and 53.1% in the European, and 50.5% and 40.2% in North American patients, respectively. Baseline opioid users reported more preoperative back pain than the No-Opi group (7.0 vs 5.7, P = .001), while NRS-Leg pain scores were comparable (4.8 vs 4, P = .159). Similarly, at last follow-up, patients in the Opi group had greater NRS-B scores than Non-Opi patients (3.2 vs 2.3, P = .012), but no differences in NRS-Leg pain scores (2.2 vs 2.4, P = .632) were observed. In this study, almost one-third of surgical ASD patients were consuming opioids both pre- and postoperatively world-wide. There were marked international variations, with patients from Asia having a much lower usage rate, suggesting a cultural influence. Despite both opioid users and nonusers benefitting from surgery, preoperative opioid use was strongly associated with significantly more back pain at baseline that persisted at 2-year follow up, as well as persistent postoperative opioid needs.





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Publication Info

Sardi, Juan P, Justin S Smith, Jeffrey L Gum, Brett Rocos, Anastasios Charalampidis, Lawrence G Lenke, Christopher I Shaffrey, Kenneth MC Cheung, et al. (2024). Opioid Use Prior to Adult Spine Deformity Correction Surgery is Associated With Worse Pre- and Postoperative Back Pain and Prolonged Opioid Demands. Global spine journal. p. 21925682241261662. 10.1177/21925682241261662 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/31145.

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Brett Rocos

Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I joined the team at Duke University Health from London, UK, where I was a Consultant Adult and Paediatric Spine Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust and Honorary Consultant Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. I completed my surgical training in in the South West of the UK and at the University of Toronto, and am fellowship trained in adult spine surgery, paediatric spine surgery, orthopaedic trauma surgery, research and healthcare management.

I am driven to support patients at every stage of their care, from clinic assessment, through surgery to discharge. Making sure that every person, adult, child, family or friend understands what’s wrong, helping them to choose the right treatment for them, and what the recovery will be like is an important priority.

My research activity focusses on finding effective new treatments for spinal disorders and bringing them to patients. Focusing on spinal deformity, I have led investigations in the UK, Canada and the USA, and I sit on the Global AO Knowledge Forum for Deformity and the Research Grants Committee at the Scoliosis Research Society. I have lectured in North America and Europe about the treatment of spine disorders for the Scoliosis Research Society, Global Spine Congress, AO Spine and Eurospine, and I have worked hard to produce research that improves the care for spine patients wherever they live. Lastly, I review for several orthopaedic journals and I am Deputy Editor of the Bone and Joint 360, a leading publication with a global readership.


Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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