A new study shows that people who take opioid pain relievers before having spine surgery often have less improvement and higher levels of dissatisfaction after the procedure.
The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, also found that the higher the level of opioid intake, the higher the level of post-surgery dissatisfaction.
“We have demonstrated that increasing amounts of preoperative opioid consumption may have a harmful effect on patient reported outcomes in those undergoing spinal surgery,” said lead author Clinton J. Devin, an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery at the Vanderbilt Spine Center.
In the study, 56 percent of patients reported some degree of opioid use prior to elective lumbar, thoracolumbar and cervical spine surgery. Their health status was measured before and after surgery. Researchers looked at their physical and mental ability, depression, distress, disability and back pain.
Their research found that increasing the amount of opioids taken before surgery significantly led to worse health outcomes after surgery. They also noted that people taking opioids often had depression and anxiety.
“Our work highlights the importance of careful preoperative counseling with patients on high doses of preoperative opioids, pointing out the potential impact on long term outcome and working toward narcotic reduction prior to undergoing surgery.”
Source: Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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