Multiple sclerosis relapse risk in the postoperative period: Effects of invasive surgery and anesthesia

Mult Scler. 2020 Oct;26(11):1437-1440. doi: 10.1177/1352458519860304. Epub 2019 Jun 25.


Background: Postoperative multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses are a concern among patients and providers.

Objective: To determine whether MS relapse risk is higher postoperatively.

Methods: Data were extracted from medical records of MS patients undergoing surgery at a tertiary center (2000-2016). Conditional logistic regression estimated within-patient unadjusted and age-adjusted odds of postoperative versus preoperative relapse.

Results: Among 281 patients and 609 surgeries, 12 postoperative relapses were identified. The odds of postoperative versus preoperative relapse in unadjusted (odds ratio (OR) = 0.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.18-1.79; p = 0.33) or age-adjusted models (OR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.20-2.16; p = 0.49) were not increased.

Conclusions: Surgery/anesthesia exposure did not increase postoperative relapse risk. These findings require confirmation in larger studies.

Keywords: Anesthesia; logistic models; multiple sclerosis; postoperative period; preoperative period; retrospective studies.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia* / adverse effects
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors