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Study Design. Prospective review of registry data at a single institution from October 2010 to June 2012.

Objective. To assess whether the amount of preoperative narcotic use is associated with preoperative depression and anxiety in patients undergoing spine surgery for a structural lesion.

Summary of Background Data. Previous work suggests that narcotic use and psychiatric comorbidities are significantly related. Among other psychological considerations, depression and anxiety may be associated with the amount of preoperative narcotic use in patients undergoing spine surgery.

Methods. Five hundred eighty-three patients undergoing lumbar (60%), thoracolumbar (11%), or cervical spine (29%) were included. Self-reported preoperative narcotic consumption was obtained at the initial preoperative visit and converted to daily morphine equivalent amounts. Preoperative Zung Depression Scale (ZDS) and Modified Somatic Perception Questionnaire (MSPQ) scores were also obtained at the initial preoperative visit and recorded as measures of depression and anxiety, respectively. Resistant and robust bootstrapped multivariable linear regression analysis was performed to determine the association between ZDS and MSPQ scores and preoperative narcotics, controlling for clinically important covariates. Mann-Whitney U tests examined preoperative narcotic use in patients who were categorized as depressed (ZDS >= 33) or anxious (MSPQ >= 12).

Results. Multivariable analysis controlling for age, sex, smoking status, preoperative employment status, and prior spinal surgery demonstrated that preoperative ZDS (P = 0.006), prior spine surgery (P = 0.007), and preoperative pain (0.014) were independent risk factors for preoperative narcotic use. Preoperative MSPQ (P = 0.083) was nearly a statistically significant risk factor. Patients who were categorized as depressed or anxious on the basis of ZDS and MSPQ scores also showed higher preoperative narcotic use than those who were not (P < 0.0001).

Conclusion. Depression and anxiety as assessed by ZDS and MSPQ scores were significantly associated with increased preoperative narcotic use, underscoring the importance of thorough psychological and substance use evaluation in patients being evaluated for spine surgery.

Level of Evidence: 2

(C) 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins