Study design: Prospective double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Objectives: The objective of this study was to validate the efficacy of gabapentin as part of a multimodal pain regimen in a double-blind, randomized controlled trial for patients aged 10–19 years with idiopathic scoliosis undergoing posterior spinal fusion. Summary of background data: Perioperative pain management represents a challenge for patients undergoing surgical correction of adolescent spinal deformity. Gabapentin has been shown to decrease postoperative pain and opioid use after spine surgery, but it has not yet been investigated as part of a multimodal pain regimen intended to decrease the perioperative use of opioids. Methods: Fifty patients were randomized to receive gabapentin or placebo pre- and postoperatively in addition to a standardized medication regime including scheduled ketorolac and as-needed acetaminophen, hydromorphone, and oxycodone. Patients were monitored in the pre-, peri-, and postoperative periods for pain levels, medication dosing, side effects, adverse events, hospitalization length of stay, and parent satisfaction. Results: There were statistically significant decreases in early postoperative pain scores and opioid use as well as total postoperative opioid use for the treatment group relative to controls. There were no statistically significant differences in adverse events, medication side effects, or hospitalization length. Parents of patients in both groups were very satisfied with the pain control provided to their children. Conclusions: This randomized controlled trial demonstrates that pre- and postoperative administration of gabapentin as part of a multimodal pain management protocol significantly decreases both opioid use and visual analog pain scales in the first two postoperative days after posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Gabapentin should be considered as a standard medication for perioperative pain control in this patient population. Level of evidence: Level I.
- Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
- Postoperative pain
- Randomized controlled trial
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine