PROMIS Physical Function Predicts Postoperative Pain and Disability Following Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

Clin Spine Surg. 2020 Nov;33(9):382-387. doi: 10.1097/BSD.0000000000000973.


Study design: This was a retrospective study.

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine if preoperative Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Physical Function (PROMIS PF) score is predictive of improvement in pain and physical function following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

Summary of background data: Few studies have investigated the predictive nature of PROMIS PF of patients undergoing spine surgery, such as ACDF.

Methods: Patients undergoing a primary, 1-3-level ACDF were retrospectively reviewed and were stratified into 3 cohorts according to preoperative PROMIS PF scores: minimal disability (score 50-60), mild disability (score 40-50), moderate disability (score 30-40), and severe disability (score 20-30). Preoperative PROMIS PF cohorts were tested for an association with demographics, perioperative characteristics, and improvement in Neck Disability Index (NDI), 12-Item Short-Form Physical Component Score (SF-12 PCS), and Visual Analog Scale (VAS) neck and arm pain using χ analysis and multivariate linear regression.

Results: A total of 126 patients were included: 11 had a minimal disability, 44 had mild disability, 54 had moderate disability, and 17 had severe disability. Patients with a severe disability experienced no statistically significant increase in their length of stay. Greater preoperative disability demonstrated lower NDI and SF-12 PCS scores preoperatively and at each postoperative timepoint. Greater preoperative disability had worse VAS neck and arm pain preoperatively and 6-week and 3-month postoperatively. Although patients with severe disability trended worse VAS neck and arm pain at the 6-month follow-up, this did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusions: In this investigation, patients with worse PROMIS PF scores reported greater pain and disability in the preoperative period and experienced less improvement in NDI, SF-12 PCS, and VAS back and leg following ACDF. PROMIS PF is an efficient and accurate instrument that can effectively evaluate strength, mobility, and coordination in the preoperative period and may be used to predict clinical outcomes following ACDF.

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Vertebrae* / surgery
  • Diskectomy
  • Humans
  • Pain, Postoperative
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fusion*