A national database propensity score-matched comparison of minimally invasive and open colectomy for long-term opioid use.

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Surgical endoscopy


washington; seattle; swedish cancer


BACKGROUND: Opioid dependence is a public health crisis and surgery is a risk factor for long-term opioid use. Though minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is associated with less perioperative pain, demonstrating an association with less long-term opioid use would be another reason to justify adoption of minimally invasive techniques. We compared the rates for long-term opioid prescriptions among patients in a large national database who underwent minimally invasive and open colectomy.

METHODS: Using the MarketScan Database, we retrospectively analyzed patients undergoing colon resection for benign and malignant diseases between 2013 and 2017. Among opioid-naïve patients who had ≥ 1 opioid prescriptions filled perioperatively (30 days before surgery to 14 days after discharge), propensity score matching was applied for group comparisons [open (OS) versus MIS, and laparoscopic (LS) versus robotic-assisted surgery (RS)]. The primary outcome was long-term opioid use defined as the proportion of patients with ≥ 1 long-term opioid prescriptions filled 90-180 days after discharge. Risks factors for long-term opioid use were assessed using logistic regression.

RESULTS: Among the 5413 matched pairs in the MIS versus OS cohorts, MIS significantly reduced long-term opioid use of 'any opioids' (13.3% vs. 20.9%), schedule II/III opioids (11.7% vs. 19.2%), and high-dose opioids (4.3% vs. 7.7%; all p < 0.001). Among the 1195 matched pairs in the RS versus LS cohorts, RS was associated with less high-dose opioids (2.1% vs. 3.8%, p = 0.015) 90-180 days after discharge. Other risk factors for long-term opioid use included younger age, benign indications, tobacco use, mental health conditions, and > 6 Charlson comorbidities.

CONCLUSION: Minimally invasive colectomy is associated with a significant reduction in long-term opioid use when compared to OS. Robotic-assisted colectomy was associated with less high-dose opioids compared to LS. Increasing adoption of minimally invasive surgery for colectomy and including RS, where appropriate, may decrease long-term opioid use.

Clinical Institute