Patient satisfaction after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is primarily driven by relieving pain

Clin J Pain. 2012 Jun;28(5):398-403. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e318232cddc.


Objectives: A prospective follow-up study of patients with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for single-level cervical disc disease was conducted to determine the extent of impact of pain, sensory function, motor function, and range of motion (ROM) of the neck on patient satisfaction after ACDF.

Methods: A total of 67 ACDF patients were monitored by clinical examination (pain, motor function, sensory function, and ROM in the neck) preoperatively and at follow-up (mean, 217 d after surgery; range, 198 to 232 d) and by a satisfactory questionnaire (SQ) at follow-up only. According to the SQs, 4 patient groups were characterized. Inside each patient group for each examination parameter, the percentage of patients who showed improved, unchanged, or worsened clinical results was analyzed.

Results: Patient satisfaction was found to depend primarily on the improvement in pain (P=0.001). The development of motor function (P=0.056), sensory function (P=0.225), and ROM of the neck (P=0.565) did not demonstrate significant correlation with patient satisfaction. The Numerical Rating Scale score decreased from 6.2 before surgery to 2.1 on follow-up, whereas the level of analgesic use (World Health Organization scheme) decreased from 1.9 to 0.3.

Discussion: Improvement in pain seemed to be most important aspect in ACDF patients regarding the subjective SQ. Therefore, we strongly recommend focusing on pain-reducing therapies when choosing treatment for these patients during the postoperative period.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Arm
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery
  • Diskectomy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Intraoperative Complications / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology
  • Neck Pain / therapy
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Sensation / physiology
  • Spinal Fusion*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Opioid