Clinical outcomes research in spine surgery: what are appropriate follow-up times?

J Neurosurg Spine. 2018 Dec 21;30(3):397-404. doi: 10.3171/2018.8.SPINE18715.


In BriefThe time course required for the patient-reported outcomes of pain, physical function, and mental health to reach a recovery plateau after elective lumbar spine surgery was assessed utilizing a prospectively maintained multicenter registry. The work is important as it demonstrates that specific health dimensions follow different recovery plateaus and it provides evidence that a 2-year postoperative follow-up is not required to accurately assess the treatment effect of established surgeries for lumbar spinal pathologies.

Keywords: CSORN = Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network; DS = Disability Scale; LDH = lumbar disc herniation; LDS = lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis; LSS = lumbar spinal stenosis; MCS = Mental Component Summary; PCS = Physical Component Summary; PRO = patient-reported outcome; QOL = quality of life; VAS = visual analog scale; follow-up duration; patient-reported outcomes; registry; spine surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / surgery*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Lumbosacral Region / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Quality of Life
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Spinal Stenosis / surgery*
  • Time
  • Treatment Outcome