Gamma-aminobutyric acid analogues are commonly used to treat neuropathic and chronic pain before and after spinal surgery in recent years. Aim of this study is to investigate the influence of pregabalin on spinal fusion and to determine the proper pregabalin dose for postoperative utilization in a validated rat intertransverse spinal fusion.
Lumbar intertransverse fusion surgeries performed in four groups of rats according to a previously established rat model for posterolateral spinal fusion. All rats were followed up for 6 weeks at the postoperative period by administering oral pregabalin doses of 10 (D10), 30 (D30) and 100 mg/kg/day (D100) except the control group. All rats were killed after 6 weeks and evaluated in terms of manual palpation, radiographic investigation and histological analysis to investigate posterolateral fusion.
Assessment of fusion with manual palpation revealed lower fusion rates in D100 group. In histological analysis, scores were significantly lower in D30 and D100 groups compared to the control group; this finding was interpreted as inhibition of spinal fusion. Radiographic evaluation did not reveal any significant statistical difference between groups.
Histological analysis and manual palpation results showed inhibition of spinal fusion formation with high doses of pregabalin. According to these results, administration of high-dose pregabalin should be avoided at the postoperative period until successful fusion is obtained in patients who undergo spinal fusion surgery. These slides can be retrieved under electronic supplementary material.