Predictors of Prolonged Opioid Use After Lumbar Fusion and the Effects of Opioid Use on Patient-Reported Outcome Measures

Jose A. Canseco, Michael Chang, Brian A. Karamian*, Jennifer Z. Mao, Ariana A. Reyes, John Mangan, Srikanth N. Divi, Dhruv K.C. Goyal, Harold I. Salmons, Nicolas Dohse, Noah Levy, Maxwell Detweiler, D. Greg Anderson, Jeffrey A. Rihn, Mark F. Kurd, Alan S. Hilibrand, Christopher K. Kepler, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Gregory D. Schroeder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: Retrospective case series. Objective: To determine risk factors associated with prolonged opioid use after lumbar fusion and to elucidate the effect of opioid use on patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) after surgery. Methods: Patients who underwent 1–3 level lumbar decompression and fusion with at least one-year follow-up were identified. Opioid data were collected through the Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Preoperative “chronic use” was defined as consumption of >90 days in the one-year before surgery. Postoperative “prolonged use” was defined as a filled prescription 90-days after surgery. PROMs included the following: Short Form-12 Health Survey PCS-12 and MCS-12, ODI, and VAS-Back and Leg scores. Logistic regression was performed to determine independent predictors for prolonged opioid use. Results: The final analysis included 260 patients. BMI >35 (OR:.44 [.20,.90], P =.03) and current smoking status (OR: 2.73 [1.14, 6.96], P =.03) significantly predicted postoperative opioid usage. Chronic opioid use before surgery was associated with greater improvements in MCS-12 (β= 5.26 [1.01, 9.56], P =.02). Patients with prolonged opioid use self-reported worse VAS-Back (3.4 vs 2.1, P =.003) and VAS-Leg (2.6 vs 1.2, P =.03) scores after surgery. Prolonged opioid use was associated with decreased improvement in VAS-Leg over time (β =.14 [.15, 1.85], P =.02). Conclusions: Current smoking status and lower BMI were significantly predictive of prolonged opioid use. Excess opioid use before and after surgery significantly affected PROMs after lumbar fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • lumbar fusion
  • opioids
  • patient reported outcome measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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