Can Preoperative Intravenous Corticosteroids Administration Reduce Postoperative Pain Scores Following Spinal Fusion?: A Meta-Analysis

Objective: This meta-analysis aimed to assess whether preoperative intravenous corticosteroids reduced postoperative pain in patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery. Methods: We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Web of Science and Google databases, from inception to March 29, 2018. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared preoperative intravenous glucocorticoids against a control treatment for the effect on pain following spinal fusion surgery were included. A meta-analysis was performed to generate a pooled risk ratio (RR) and weighted mean difference (WMD) with corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI) for discontinuous outcomes (the occurrence of postoperative nausea and vomiting [PONV] as well as surgical-site infections) and continuous outcomes (visual analog scale [VAS] scores at 12 h, 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h; total morphine consumption and the length of hospital stay), respectively. Results: Ten RCTs that compared intravenous corticosteroids versus placebo were included in our final meta-analysis. Compared with controls, intravenous corticosteroids were associated with a statistically significant reduction in pain VAS scores at 12 h, 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h. Additionally, intravenous corticosteroids decreased total morphine consumption, PONV, and the length of hospital stay. There was no significant difference between intravenous corticosteroids and controls, regarding the occurrence of infection (p > 0.05). Conclusions: In summary, our results indicated that intravenous corticosteroids not only reduce pain but also have anti-emetic effects. More studies should focus on the adverse effects of administering intravenous corticosteroids.