Multi-domain biopsychosocial postoperative recovery trajectories associate with patient outcomes following lumbar fusion

Eur Spine J. 2023 Apr;32(4):1429-1436. doi: 10.1007/s00586-023-07572-0. Epub 2023 Mar 6.


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe and assess the impact of multi-domain biopsychosocial (BPS) recovery on outcomes following lumbar spine fusion. We hypothesized that discrete patterns of BPS recovery (e.g., clusters) would be identified, and then associated with postoperative outcomes and preoperative patient data.

Methods: Patient-reported outcomes for pain, disability, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and social roles were collected at multiple timepoints for patients undergoing lumbar fusion between baseline and one year. Multivariable latent class mixed models assessed composite recovery as a function of (1) pain, (2) pain and disability, and (3) pain, disability, and additional BPS factors. Patients were assigned to clusters based on their composite recovery trajectories over time.

Results: Using all BPS outcomes from 510 patients undergoing lumbar fusion, three multi-domain postoperative recovery clusters were identified: Gradual BPS Responders (11%), Rapid BPS Responders (36%), and Rebound Responders (53%). Modeling recovery from pain alone or pain and disability alone failed to generate meaningful or distinct recovery clusters. BPS recovery clusters were associated with number of levels fused and preoperative opioid use. Postoperative opioid use (p < 0.01) and hospital length of stay (p < 0.01) were associated with BPS recovery clusters even after adjusting for confounding factors.

Conclusion: This study describes distinct clusters of recovery following lumbar spine fusion derived from multiple BPS factors, which are related to patient-specific preoperative factors and postoperative outcomes. Understanding postoperative recovery trajectories across multiple health domains will advance our understanding of how BPS factors interact with surgical outcomes and could inform personalized care plans.

Keywords: Biopsychosocial; Lumbar spine; Patient outcomes; Recovery trajectories; Spinal fusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae* / surgery
  • Lumbosacral Region / surgery
  • Pain / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fusion* / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics, Opioid