A systematic review of bio-psychosocial risk factors for an unfavourable outcome after lumbar disc surgery

Eur Spine J. 2006 May;15(5):527-36. doi: 10.1007/s00586-005-0910-x. Epub 2005 May 25.


The objective of this systematic review is to summarize scientific evidence concerning the predictive value of bio-psychosocial risk factors with regard to the outcome after lumbar disc surgery. Medical and psychological databases were used to locate potentially relevant articles, which resulted in the selection of 11 studies. Each of these studies has a prospective design that examined the predictive value of preoperative variables for the outcome of lumbar disc surgery. Results indicated that socio-demographic, clinical, work-related as well as psychological factors predict lumbar disc surgery outcome. Findings showed relatively consistently that a lower level of education, a higher level of preoperative pain, less work satisfaction, a longer duration of sick leave, higher levels of psychological complaints and more passive avoidance coping function as predictors of an unfavourable outcome in terms of pain, disability, work capacity, or a combination of these outcome measures. The results of this review provide preliminary opportunities to select patients at risk for an unfavourable outcome. However, further systematic and methodologically high quality research is required, particularly for those predictors that can be positively influenced by multidisciplinary interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Diskectomy / adverse effects*
  • Diskectomy / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / surgery*
  • Low Back Pain / psychology
  • Low Back Pain / surgery
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Psychology / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychology / trends
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Risk Factors