Perioperative steroids for lumbar disc surgery: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Muhammad Waqas, Hussain Shallwani, Muhammad Shamim, Khabir Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Our review question was 'Does perioperative steroids administration, in comparison with other treatments or placebo, improve either postoperative pain control, length of hospital stay, or return to work in patients undergoing lumbar disc surgery?' Methods: We searched PubMed, CINAHL PLUS, and Cochrane databases for randomized control trials (RCTs) studying the role of steroids for lumbar disc surgery. Studies that compared perioperative steroids with other treatments or placebo were included. Study outcomes included postoperative back pain, leg pain, length of hospital stay, and return to work. Data was extracted through a proforma. Means and mean differences were calculated for continuous data, whereas odds ratios were calculated for dichotomous data. Data were analyzed with the help of Rev Man 5. Results: Twenty RCTs were included in the review. Quantitative analysis could be performed on 19 RCTs. Intraoperative steroids improve control of back pain at 24-48 hours. Although there was some benefit of steroid administration in controlling postoperative leg pain, it disappeared at 1 year and in the overall pooled analysis. The length of hospital stay was much shorter in the steroid group. The frequency of adverse events and complications also favored steroid administration. Conclusion: Intraoperative epidural steroid administration offers some benefit in pain control with a significant reduction in the length of hospital stay. However, there is insufficient evidence to support the routine use of oral and intravenous steroids in the perioperative period.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Lumbar surgery
  • Lumbar surgery outcomes
  • Microdiscectomy
  • Perioperative steroids
  • Randomized control trials


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