Do measures of surgical effectiveness at 1 year after lumbar spine surgery accurately predict 2-year outcomes?

Owoicho Adogwa, Aladine A. Elsamadicy, Jing L. Han, Joseph Cheng, Isaac Karikari, Carlos A. Bagley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Objective With the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there has been a dramatic shift toward critical analyses of quality and longitudinal assessment of subjective and objective outcomes after lumbar spine surgery. Accordingly, the emergence and routine use of real-world institutional registries have been vital to the longitudinal assessment of quality. However, prospectively obtaining longitudinal outcomes for patients at 24 months after spine surgery remains a challenge. The aim of this study was to assess if 12-month measures of treatment effectiveness accurately predict long-term outcomes (24 months). Methods A nationwide, multiinstitutional, prospective spine outcomes registry was used for this study. Enrollment criteria included available demographic, surgical, and clinical outcomes data. All patients had prospectively collected outcomes measures and a minimum 2-year follow-up. Patient-reported outcomes instruments (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI], SF-36, and visual analog scale [VAS]-back pain/leg pain) were completed before surgery and then at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery. The Health Transition Index of the SF-36 was used to determine the 1- and 2-year minimum clinically important difference (MCID), and logistic regression modeling was performed to determine if achieving MCID at 1 year adequately predicted improvement and achievement of MCID at 24 months. Results The study group included 969 patients: 300 patients underwent anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), 606 patients underwent transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), and 63 patients underwent lateral interbody fusion (LLIF). There was a significant correlation between the 12- and 24-month ODI (r = 0.82; p < 0.0001), SF-36 Physical Component Summary score (r = 0.89; p < 0.0001), VAS-back pain (r = 0.90; p < 0.0001), and VAS-leg pain (r = 0.85; p < 0.0001). For the ALIF cohort, patients achieving MCID thresholds for ODI at 12 months were 13-fold (p < 0.0001) more likely to achieve MCID at 24 months. Similarly, for the TLIF and LLIF cohorts, patients achieving MCID thresholds for ODI at 12 months were 13-fold and 14-fold (p < 0.0001) more likely to achieve MCID at 24 months. Outcome measures obtained at 12 months postoperatively are highly predictive of 24-month outcomes, independent of the surgical procedure. Con clusions In a multiinstitutional prospective study, patient-centered measures of surgical effectiveness obtained at 12 months adequately predict long-term (24-month) outcomes after lumbar spine surgery. Patients achieving MCID at 1 year were more likely to report meaningful and durable improvement at 24 months, suggesting that the 12-month time point is sufficient to identify effective versus ineffective patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-696
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2016



  • Effective measures
  • Long-term outcomes
  • Lumbar spine
  • Spinal surgery
  • Surgical effectiveness
  • Surgical outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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