Racial Differences in Perioperative Opioid Utilization in Lumbar Decompression and Fusion Surgery for Symptomatic Lumbar Stenosis or Spondylolisthesis

Mark A. Davison, Daniel T. Lilly, Shyam A. Desai, Victoria D. Vuong, Jessica Moreno, Carlos Bagley, Owoicho Adogwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Objectives: To assess for racial differences in opioid utilization prior to and after lumbar fusion surgery for patients with lumbar stenosis or spondylolisthesis. Methods: Clinical records from patients with lumbar stenosis or spondylolisthesis undergoing primary <3-level lumbar fusion from 2007 to 2016 were gathered from a comprehensive insurance database. Records were queried by International Classification of Diseases diagnosis/procedure codes and insurance-specific generic drug codes. Opioid use 6 months prior, through 2 years after surgery was assessed. Multivariate regression analysis was employed to investigate independent predictors of opioid use following lumbar fusion. Results: A total of 13 257 patients underwent <3-level posterior lumbar fusion. The cohort racial distribution was as follows: 80.9% white, 7.0% black, 1.0% Hispanic, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% North American Native, 0.8% “Other,” and 9.8% “Unknown.” Overall, 57.8% patients utilized opioid medications prior to index surgery. When normalized by the number opiate users, all racial cohort saw a reduction in pills disbursed and dollars billed following surgery. Preoperatively, Hispanics had the largest average pills dispensed (222.8 pills/patient) and highest average amount billed ($74.67/patient) for opioid medications. The black cohort had the greatest proportion of patients utilizing preoperative opioids (61.8%), postoperative opioids (87.1%), and long-term opioid utilization (72.7%), defined as use >1 year after index operation. Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated Asian patients (OR 0.422, 95% CI 0.191-0.991) were less likely to use opioids following lumbar fusion. Conclusions: Racial differences exist in perioperative opioid utilization for patients undergoing lumbar fusion surgery for spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis. Future studies are needed corroborate our findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-168
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • decompression
  • fusion
  • lumbar
  • spondylosis
  • stenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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