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Opioid use prior to surgery is associated with worse preoperative and postoperative patient reported quality of life and decreased surgical cost effectiveness for symptomatic adult spine deformity; A matched cohort analysis



Preoperative opioid is associated with poor postoperative outcomes for several surgical specialties, including neurosurgical, orthopedic, and general surgery. Patients with symptomatic adult spinal deformity (SASD) are among the highest patient populations reporting opioid use prior to surgery. Surgery for SASD has been demonstrated to improve patient reported quality of life, however, little medical economic data exists evaluating impact of preoperative opioid use upon surgical cost-effectiveness for SASD. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact that preoperative opioid use has upon SASD surgery including duration of intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stay, postoperative complications, patient reported outcome measures (PROMs), and surgical cost-effectiveness using a propensity score matched analysis model.


Surgically treated SASD patients enrolled into a prospective multi-center SASD study were assessed for preoperative opioid use, and divided into two cohorts; preoperative opioid users (OPIOID) and preoperative opioid non-users (NON). Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to control for patient age, medical comorbidities, spine deformity type and magnitude, and surgical procedures for OPIOID vs NON. Preoperative and minimum 2-year postoperative PROMs, duration of ICU and hospital stay, postoperative complications, and opioid use at one and two years postoperative were compared for OPIOID vs NON. Preoperative, one year, and minimum two-year postoperative SF6D values were calculated, and one- and two-year postoperative QALYs were calculated using SF6D change from baseline. Hospital costs at the time of index surgery were calculated and cost/QALY compared at one and two years postop for OPIOID vs NON.


261/357 patients (mean follow-up 3.3 years) eligible for study were evaluated. Following the PSM control, OPIOID (n=97) had similar preoperative demographics, smoking and depression history, spine deformity magnitude, and surgery performed as NON (n=164; p>0.05). Preoperatively, OPIOID reported greater NRS back pain (7.7 vs 6.7) and leg pain (5.2 vs 3.9), worse ODI (50.8 vs 36.9), worse SF-36 PCS (28.8 vs 35.6), and worse SRS-22r self-image (2.3 vs 2.5) than NON, respectively (p<0.05). OPIOID had longer ICU (41.2 vs 21.4 hours) and hospital stay (10.6 vs 8.0 days) than NON, respectively (p<0.05). At last postoperative follow up, OPIOID reported greater NRS back pain (4.1 vs 2.3) and leg pain (2.9 vs 1.7), worse ODI (32.4 vs 19.4), worse SF-36 PCS (37.4 vs 47.0), worse SRS-22r self-image (3.5 vs 4.0), and lower SRS-22r treatment satisfaction score (2.5 vs 4.5) than NON, respectively (p<0.05). At last follow-up postoperative Cost/QALY was higher for OPIOID ($44,558.31) vs NON ($34,304.36; p<0.05). At last follow up OPIOID reported greater postoperative opioid usage than NON [41.2% vs. 12.9%, respectively; odds ratio =4.7 (95% CI=2.6-8.7; p<0.05)].


Prospective, multi-center, matched analysis demonstrated SASD patients using opioids prior to SASD surgery reported worse preoperative and postoperative quality of life, had longer ICU and hospital stay, had less cost effectiveness of SASD surgery. Preoperative opioid users also reported lower treatment satisfaction, and reported greater postoperative opioid use than non-users. These data should be used to council patients on the negative impact preoperative opioid use can have on SASD surgery.

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