5 key findings on sustained opioid use after spine surgery

Written by Laura Dyrda | August 03, 2017 | Print  |

A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery examines risk factors associated with prolonged opioid use after spine surgery.


The study authors examined Tricare claims data for surgeries performed in 2006 to 2014. The study covered four common spine surgeries — discectomy, decompression, lumbar posterolateral arthrodesis and lumbar interbody arthrodesis. There were 9,991 patients involved in the study.


Researchers found:


1. At discharge, 84 percent of the patients filled at least one prescription.


2. Within 30 days of discharge, 8 percent of the patients still used opioids. Three months after discharge, 1 percent still used opioids and six months after discharge 0.1 percent continued opioid use.


3. The patients who underwent low-intensity surgical procedures were more likely to halt opioid use. The hazard ratio for low-intensity procedures was:


• Discectomy: 1.43
• Decompression: 1.34


4. The patients who reported depression were less likely to discontinue opioid use. However, there was no difference between the opioid-native and non-opioid native patient groups.


5. The study authors concluded socioeconomic status and pre-existing mental health disorders were more likely factors in prolonged opioid use after spinal procedures.


More articles on spine surgery:

Dr. Todd Lanman launches charitable foundation for research, military veteran care: 5 things to know
6 spine surgeons & neurosurgeons on the move in July 2017
6 key points on lumbar spine surgery 30-day reoperation, 3-month readmissions

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