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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Oct 2020 - 30 Oct 2020

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Sep

J Spine Surg



The role of perioperative ketamine in postoperative pain control following spinal surgery.


Park PJ, Makhni MC, Cerpa M, Lehman RA, Lenke LG
J Spine Surg. 2020 Sep; 6(3):591-597.
PMID: 33102896.


Opioid abuse has rapidly developed into an epidemic across the United States. Patients are often introduced to opioids following surgical procedures-this is particularly relevant following spinal surgery. Surgeons can help reduce this opioid burden by finding alternatives to narcotic analgesia in the postoperative period. One such medication that has shown potential in this role is ketamine, which has been studied in various surgical specialties. A review was performed of current literature regarding ketamine use in the perioperative period specific to spinal surgery. This review focused on prospective randomized control trials; the primary endpoint was opioid consumption in the postoperative period, monitored through patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) use. Both pediatric and adult spinal surgery patients were included; cervical, thoracic, and lumbar procedures were also all included. 10 studies were selected for this reviewed based on inclusion criteria, published between 2004 and 2017. 7 of these studies demonstrated a significant decrease in postoperative opioid use with the integration of ketamine in the perioperative period, while 3 trials showed no significant difference in opioid consumption. There is inherent difficulty in standardizing studies of this nature-dosing protocols, medication timing, and supplemental analgesia were variable throughout the included studies. However, this review of the most up-to-date prospective studies indicate ketamine has potential to play a significant role in reducing opioid requirements following spinal surgery, and further study is warranted in this field.