In-hospital opioid usage following posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: Does methadone offer an advantage when used with an ERAS pathway?

Spine Deform. 2021 Jul;9(4):1021-1027. doi: 10.1007/s43390-021-00288-5. Epub 2021 Mar 18.


Purpose: Intraoperative methadone has been shown to decrease opioid medication requirement following posterior spinal fusion (PSF) for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). No study to date has investigated the effect of methadone on opioid medication requirement when used in conjunction with an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocol following PSF.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed at a single, tertiary care pediatric hospital. Patients with AIS undergoing PSF were consecutively given a single intra-operative methadone dose and matched 1:2 to a AIS control group without methadone. Patients were matched for age, curve magnitude, levels fused, blood loss, and operating time. All children followed a standard ERAS protocol with methadone being the only change in the post-operative regimen. In-hospital data for opioid and non-opioid medication use, surgical, and patient variables were recorded and compared between cohorts.

Results: Twenty-six patients received methadone (average 15.1 ± 1.9 years) and were matched with 52 control patients without methadone (average 14.7 ± 2.2 years). There were no significant differences in total opioid usage at any time-interval prior to hospital discharge or in cumulative opioid usage. Additionally, patients had a similar VAS pain level at discharge (methadone: 4.0 ± 2.3 vs control: 3.8 ± 1.9; P = 0.572). Total opioid usage was correlated with LOS. There were no opioid-related medication complications in either cohort.

Conclusion: There was no decrease of in-hospital opioid usage when methadone was used with an ERAS protocol. Total opioid usage is correlated with hospital LOS following PSF.

Keywords: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; ERAS; Methadone; Opioid; Posterior spinal fusion.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Child
  • Enhanced Recovery After Surgery*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Methadone
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scoliosis* / surgery
  • Spinal Fusion* / adverse effects


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Methadone