Home Doctor NewsGeneral Surgery News Children, teenagers getting spinal surgery don’t need so many opioids: Study

Children, teenagers getting spinal surgery don’t need so many opioids: Study

by Vaishali Sharma

A study found that adolescents and teens with scoliosis who undergo spinal fusion can still be provided an adequate dose of pain medication while taking less opioids.

The Michigan Medicine study’s findings were published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. Researchers included 72 teenage patients undergoing spinal fusions at the University of Michigan Health and gave them 30 doses of oxycodone as well as normal nonopioid medicines following the operation.

Preoperative education on the hazards of opioids and the necessity of nonopioid pain management choices was provided to 49 patients and their carers, whereas no preoperative information was provided to the remaining 35 patients.

Despite being released with the same number of opioid and nonopioid drugs, the study found that 23 percent of patients who did not get preoperative education phoned for an opioid prescription refill, compared to 6 percent of patients who did receive preoperative education. Patients in the present trial drank less oxycodone and had fewer days of oxycodone usage when compared to a group of 77 adolescents who previously had spinal fusion and had no standard discharge prescription criteria.

“Spinal fusion is arguably one of the most painful procedures we perform in pediatric orthopaedics, but our findings show we can provide excellent pain control by employing multimodal pain management techniques and preoperative education,” said G. Ying Li, M.D., senior author of the study and orthopaedic surgeon at U-M Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

When given a bigger prescription amount, the preceding group of patients took an average of 29 doses of oxycodone. According to this information, participants in the present research were prescribed 30 doses of oxycodone, but they only took 16 of them while experiencing relatively low pain levels.

“Our results show that when we prescribe patients less narcotics, they will take fewer narcotics, so prescription quantity is incredibly important after a procedure like this,” Li said. “We want to avoid situations where someone is overprescribed opioids and takes too many or leftover opioids are diverted to others. In the current state of the opioid crisis, preoperative education and use of a multimodal approach to managing pain is key to reducing harm and preventing substance use disorders and overdose.”

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