Moving toward a standard for spinal fusion outcomes assessment

J Spinal Disord Tech. 2002 Feb;15(1):16-23. doi: 10.1097/00024720-200202000-00003.


Previous spinal fusion outcomes assessment studies have been complicated by inconsistencies in evaluative criteria and consequent variations in results. As a result, a general consensus is lacking on how to achieve comprehensive outcomes assessment for spinal fusion surgeries. The purpose of this article is to report the most validated and frequently used assessment measures to facilitate comparable outcomes studies in the future. Twenty-seven spinal fusion outcomes studies published between 1990 and 2000 were retrospectively reviewed. Study characteristics such as design, evaluative measures, and assessment tools were recorded and analyzed. Based on the reviewed literature, an outcomes assessment model is proposed including the Short Form-36 Health Survey, the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire, the North American Spine Society Patient Satisfaction Index, the Prolo Economic Scale, a 0-10 analog pain scale, medication use, radiographically assessed fusion status, and a generalized complication rate.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / standards*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / trends*
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / standards
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fusion / standards*
  • Spinal Fusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards