Does tamsulosin decrease postoperative urinary retention in spine surgery? A double-blind, randomized controlled trial.

The authors' objective was to determine whether preoperative administration of tamsulosin decreases postoperative urinary retention after spine surgery.

In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial performed at a single institution between 2016 and 2019, eligible males aged 50 to 85 years were administered tamsulosin or placebo for 5 days prior to elective spine surgery. Patients were excluded if they were taking alpha adrenergic blocking drugs; were allergic to tamsulosin, lactose, or sulfa drugs; had a preexisting indwelling urinary catheter, orthostatic hypotension, history of urological surgery, or renal failure; or were scheduled for cataract surgery within 2 weeks. Screening identified 1051 eligible patients (140 declined participation, 150 did not meet the inclusion criteria, and 151 did not enroll for other reasons). A total of 610 patients were randomly assigned to receive 0.4 mg oral tamsulosin or an identical placebo capsule for 5 days preoperatively and 2 days postoperatively.

A total of 497 patients were included in the final statistical analysis. The overall rate of postoperative urinary retention was 9.7%, and tamsulosin had no observed effect on reducing the rate of postoperative urinary retention as compared with placebo (9.4% vs 9.9%, p = 0.96). There were no significant differences in the reported adverse events between groups. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to model the effects of patient, surgical, and anesthetic factors on postoperative urinary retention, and the study drug remained an insignificant factor.

This study did not detect an effect of perioperative tamsulosin on reducing the rate of postoperative urinary retention in male patients aged 50 to 85 years who underwent elective spine surgery. This study does not support the routine use of tamsulosin to reduce postoperative urinary retention in patients without a previous prescription. It is unknown if subpopulations exist for which prophylactic tamsulosin may reduce postoperative urinary retention.

Journal of neurosurgery. 2022 Feb 11 [Epub ahead of print]

Anand Rughani, Deborah Cushing, Christine W Lary, Sara Cox, Brian Jumper, Nathaniel Johnson, Jeffrey Florman

1Neuroscience Institute, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine., 3Center for Outcomes Research and Education, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Portland, Maine., 4Department of Urology, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine; and., 5Department of Urology, University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington, Vermont.