Comparison of Spinal Cord Stimulation Outcomes Between Preoperative Opioid Users and Nonusers: A Cohort Study of 467 Patients

Dennis Møgeltoft Poulsen*, Lone Nikolajsen, Morten Rune Blichfeldt-Eckhardt, Helga Angela Gulisano, Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen, Kaare Meier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Objectives: Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a surgical treatment modality reserved for a subset of patients with neuropathic pain in which conventional pharmacologic treatment has proven insufficient. Previous studies have suggested a possible negative relationship between opioid use at referral and subsequent success of SCS therapy. The aim of this cohort study was to investigate whether preoperative opioid use was associated with inferior SCS outcomes. Materials and Methods: Data were obtained from the Danish Neurizon Neuromodulation Database and comprised preoperative registrations of analgesic use, postoperative Patients’ Global Impression of Change (PGIC) ratings, pre- and postoperative pain intensity scores (Numeric Rating Scale), and detailed surgical data. Patients were dichotomized according to preoperative opioid use (users vs nonusers) with subsequent assessment of the latest PGIC rating, reduction in pain intensity, and current treatment status (implanted/explanted). In addition, daily preoperative opioid dosages were quantified in oral morphine equivalents (OME) and correlated to the treatment outcomes. Results: A total of 467 patients were included; 296 consumed opioids before SCS implantation (median 80 OME/d). Preoperative opioid use was not associated with the latest PGIC rating, reduction in pain intensity (30% or 50%), or risk of undergoing explantation (median follow-up = 3.0 years). Likewise, preoperative median OME per day of opioid users was not correlated with any of the defined outcomes. Conclusions: Preoperative opioid usage did not predict the outcome of SCS therapy in a large cohort of patients permanently implanted with an SCS system. The results do not support withholding otherwise well-indicated SCS therapy in patients with chronic neuropathic pain conditions based merely on preoperative opioid usage.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)700-709
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Neuropathic pain
  • opioid therapy
  • outcome predictors
  • registries
  • spinal cord stimulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of Spinal Cord Stimulation Outcomes Between Preoperative Opioid Users and Nonusers: A Cohort Study of 467 Patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this