Quality of Life Outcomes – Pain, Disability, Return to Regular Activities

We use patient-reported outcomes to evaluate how well our patients are feeling after surgery. For spine procedures, we use three different tools: the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) for pain and two internationally used indexes of quality of life—the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) for lumbar and thoracic (lower back) problems and the Neck Disability Index (NDI) for cervical (neck) problems.

We collect data from patients at several different time periods: just before surgery, 30-60 days after surgery and one year after surgery.

 

Decrease in Pain

We use the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) to ask patients to rate their current pain on a simple scale from 0 to 10. For patients experiencing lower back problems, we ask them to rate both their back and leg pain; for patients with neck problems, we ask them to rate both their neck and arm pain. Any change of two points or more is considered a clinically important difference. Note that these scores reflect percentage change in scores on the NRS, not the actual decrease in pain. In other words, a two point change in score doesn’t mean your pain only got 2% better. It means that your pain decreased in a meaningful, noticeable way.

 


Figure 1. Reduction in pain for Proliance Surgeons’ patients after back surgery

At all periods of measurement, Proliance surgeons are clinically effective at reducing pain for back surgery patients.

 

 


Figure 2. Reduction in pain for Proliance Surgeons’ patients after neck surgery

Proliance surgeons are clinically effective at reducing pain for neck surgery patients at all periods of measurement.

 

Improvement in Quality of Life

The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) for lower back problems and the Neck Disability Index (NDI) rate specific aspects of day-to-day activity that help evaluate improvement in quality of life. Our patients are asked to rate: the intensity of their pain; their ability to lift objects, care for themselves, walk, sit and stand; their quality of sleep, sexual function and social life; and their ability to travel. Note that these scores reflect percentage change in scores on the ODI and NDI, not the actual % change in quality of life. In other words, a 15% change in score doesn’t mean your quality of life only improved 15%. It means that your quality of life improved in a meaningful, noticeable way.

At all periods of measurement, Proliance surgeons are clinically effective at increasing our patients’ quality of life after back and neck surgery, getting them back to doing the things they love.


Figure 3. Increase in Quality of Life After Surgery for Patients with Back Pain

 


Figure 4. Increase in Quality of Life After Surgery for Patients with Neck Pain