AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 3, 2018

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Evidence Mounts that Daily Opioid Users May Fare Worse After Spine Surgery, Study Finds

In a multicenter database study of adults who had undergone surgery for spinal deformities, researchers say that those who had used narcotics daily on average had worse outcomes, such as longer intensive care unit stays and more severe postop disability, compared with those who did not use opioids preoperatively.

A report of the findings adds to evidence for the negative effects of preoperative opioid use on outcomes.

“We’re not suggesting that people facing ASD surgery stop taking opioids on the basis of this study, but we do think it’s worthwhile having more conversations with physicians to see if there are alternatives or ways of reducing opioid use before surgery,” says Micheal Raad, M.D., orthopaedic surgery research fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the paper’s senior author.

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