Zero Patient-controlled Analgesia is an Achievable Target for Postoperative Rapid Recovery Management of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Patients

Vishal Sarwahi, Sayyida Hasan, Benita Liao, Jesse Galina, Aaron Atlas, Yungtai Lo, Andrew Lee, Jonathon Lentz, Terry Amaral, Michelle Kars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Study Design.Retrospective review.Objective.The objective of this study was to report on one institution's use of single bolus micro-dose intrathecal morphine as part of a rapid recovery pathway during posterior spinal fusion (PSF) for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) and its comparison to patients whose pain was controlled with patient-controlled analgesia (PCA).Summary of Background Data.Narcotic substance addiction has risen across all patient populations, including pediatrics. Narcotics have been historically used in complex spine surgeries as a measure of pain control, predominantly provided as PCA and additional take-home medication.Methods.AIS patients undergoing PSF from 2015 to 2019 were reviewed. In 2018, we instituted a standardized rapid recovery pathway for scoliosis patients undergoing PSF utilizing micro-dose intrathecal morphine (ITM-RRP). Before this, traditional protocol with PCA was used for postoperative management. Perioperative data, morphine consumption and prescription refill requests were compared.Results.There were 373 AIS patients total in this study, of which 250 patients were in the PCA group and 123 in the ITM-RRP Group. Preoperative Cobb angles (P = 0.195), as well as levels fused (P = 0.481) and body mass index (P = 0.075) were similar. 69.4% of ITM-RRP patients had a length of stay ≤3 days, significantly >11.6% of PCA patients (P < 0.001). ITM-RRP patients began ambulating significantly earlier with 84.6% patients out of bed by postoperative day 1 versus 8% PCA patients (P < 0.001). Additionally, ITM-RRP patients had significantly lower VAS pain scores with activity and earlier initial bowel movements (P < 0.001).Postoperative emesis was similar (P = 0.11). No patients had pruritus, respiratory depression, or required supplemental oxygenation.Conclusion.This is the first study to show that a rapid recovery protocol utilizing single micro-dose ITM with oral analgesics have adequate recovery, significantly better postoperative pain control and superior perioperative outcomes to traditional protocols using PCA in the AIS population following PSF.Level of Evidence: 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1448-1454
Number of pages7
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • addiction
  • adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
  • morphine
  • opioid use
  • postoperative pain
  • recovery protocol
  • spinal fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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