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This article is the author's final published version in North American Spine Society Journal, Volume 16, 2023, Article number 100229.

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Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of North American Spine Society.


BACKGROUND: Laminoplasty (LP) and laminectomy and fusion (LF) are utilized to achieve decompression in patients with symptomatic degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM). Comparative analyses aimed at determining outcomes and clarifying indications between these procedures represent an area of active research. Accordingly, we sought to compare inpatient opioid use between LP and LF patients and to determine if opioid use correlated with length of stay.

METHODS: Sociodemographic information, surgical and hospitalization data, and medication administration records were abstracted for patients >18 years of age who underwent LP or LF for DCM in the Mass General Brigham (MGB) health system between 2017 and 2019. Specifically, morphine milligram equivalents (MME) of oral and parenteral pain medication given after arrival in the recovery area until discharge from the hospital were collected. Categorical variables were analyzed using chi-squared analysis or Fisher exact test when appropriate. Continuous variables were compared using Independent samples

RESULTS: One hundred eight patients underwent LF, while 138 patients underwent LP. Total inpatient opioid use was significantly higher in the LF group (312 vs. 260 MME, p=.03); this difference was primarily driven by higher postoperative day 0 pain medication requirements. Furthermore, more LF patients required high dose (>80 MME/day) regimens. While length of stay was significantly different between groups, with LF patients staying approximately 1 additional day, postoperative day 0 MME was not a significant predictor of this difference. When operative levels including C2, T1, and T2 were excluded, the differences in total opioid use and average length of stay lost significance.

CONCLUSIONS: Inpatient opioid use and length of stay were significantly greater in LF patients compared to LP patients; however, when constructs including C2, T1, T2 were excluded from analysis, these differences lost significance. Such findings highlight the impact of operative extent between these procedures. Future studies incorporating patient reported outcomes and evaluating long-term pain needs will provide a more complete understanding of postoperative outcomes between these 2 procedures.

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