Association of Spinal Cord Stimulator Implantation with Persistent Opioid Use in Patients with Postlaminectomy Syndrome

To Nhu Vu, Chachrit Khunsriraksakul, Yakov Vorobeychik, Alison Liu, Renan Sauteraud, Ganesh Shenoy, Dajiang J. Liu, Steven P. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Importance: The results of studies evaluating spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for postlaminectomy syndrome (PLS) have yielded mixed results. This has led to an increased emphasis on objective outcome measures such as opioid prescribing. Objective: To determine the association between SCS and long-term opioid therapy (LOT) for PLS. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this cohort study, adults with PLS were identified using the TriNetx Diamond Network and separated based on whether they underwent SCS. Patients were stratified according to baseline opioid use (opioid-naive or receiving LOT) and subsequent opioid therapy over the 12-month period ranging from 3 to 15 months post-SCS implantation or post-PLS index date. Statistical analysis was performed from June to December 2021. Exposure: SCS. Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcome was cessation of opioid use among patients receiving LOT or abstinence from opioids among opioid-naive patients. Opioid-naive patients were defined as those receiving at most 2 opioid prescriptions per year, and patients on LOT were those receiving at least 6 opioid prescriptions per year. Results: Among 552937 eligible patients treated between December 2015 and May 2021, 26179 with PLS received an SCS implant. The median (IQR) patient age was 60 (51-69) years; 305802 patients (55.3%) were female. Among those reporting racial identify (37.0% [204758 patients]), 9.3% (18971 patients) were African American, 0.3% (648 patients) were Asian, and 90.4% (185139 patients) were White. Compared with those who did not receive an SCS, individuals who received an SCS were more likely to be using opioids preimplantation (mean [SD] prescriptions: 4.3 [8.5] vs 4.1 [9.3]; P <.001) but less likely to be using opioids after SCS implantation (mean [SD] prescriptions: 3.8 [8.2] vs 4.0 [9.4]; P =.006). In the 12-month study period, similar proportions in the SCS and no-SCS groups receiving baseline LOT remained on LOT (70.3% [n = 74585] vs 69.2% [n = 3882], respectively; P =.10). In opioid-naive patients, SCS was associated with a small decreased likelihood of patients subsequently receiving LOT (7.6% vs 7.0%; difference, -0.6% [95% CI, -1.0% to -0.2%]; P =.003). In multivariable analysis, SCS was associated with an increased likelihood of not being on opioids in both opioid-naive (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.90 [95% CI, 0.85-0.96]; P <.001) and LOT patients (adjusted OR, 0.93 [95% CI, 0.88-0.99]; P =.02). White patients were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with PLS (ie, underwent surgery) (90.4% vs 85.2%; difference, 5.2% [95% CI, 5.1%-5.4%]; P <.001) and receive an SCS (93.7% vs 90.3%; difference, 3.4% [95% CI, 2.9% to 4.0%]; P <.001) than patients of other racial identities. Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that under real-life conditions, SCS was associated with small, clinically questionable associations with opioid discontinuation and not starting opioids in the context of PLS..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2145876
JournalJAMA network open
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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