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Can J Anaesth. 2005 May;52(5):506-12.

High dose nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs compromise spinal fusion.

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Acute Pain Service, Baystate Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine, 759 Chestnut Street, Springfield, Massachusetts 01199, USA.



Although nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) provide benefit to patients following spinal fusion surgery, their routine administration has remained controversial due to concerns about possible deleterious effects on bone healing. The goal of this retrospective study was to assess the incidence of non-union following the perioperative administration of ketorolac, celecoxib, or rofecoxib.


We retrospectively analyzed the data of 434 patients receiving perioperative ketorolac (20-240, celecoxib (200-600, rofecoxib (50, or no NSAIDs in the five days following spinal fusion surgery.


There were no significant differences in the incidence of non-union among the groups that received no NSAIDs (11/130; 8.5%), celecoxib 5/60; 8.3%), or rofecoxib (9/124; 7.3%). In contrast, 23/120 of patients (19.2%) that received ketorolac had a higher incidence (P < 0.001) of non-union compared to non-NSAID users. However, only 3/50 patients (6%) receiving low-dose ketorolac (< or = 110 resulted in non-union which was not significantly different from non-NSAID users. Patients administered higher doses of ketorolac (120-240 resulted in a higher incidence (P < 0.0001) of non-union (20/70; 29%) compared to non-NSAID users. For those patients developing non-union, there was a higher incidence comparing smokers vs non-smokers (P < 0.0001) and one level fusion vs two level fusions (P < 0.001).


This study revealed that the short-term perioperative administration of celecoxib, rofecoxib, or low-dose ketorolac (< or = 110 had no significant deleterious effect on non-union. In contrast, higher doses of ketorolac (120-240, history of smoking, and two level vertebral fusions resulted in a significant increase in the incidence of non-union following spinal fusion surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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