How closely are outcome questionnaires correlated to patient satisfaction after cervical spine surgery for myelopathy?



Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) have become the standard means to measure surgical outcomes. Insurers and policy makers are also increasingly utilizing PROs to assess the value of care and measure different aspects of a patient's condition. For cervical myelopathy, it is currently unclear which outcome measure best reflects patient satisfaction. In this investigation, the authors evaluated patients treated for cervical myelopathy to determine which outcome questionnaires best correlate with patient satisfaction.


The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), a prospectively collected multi-institutional database, was used to retrospectively analyze patients undergoing surgery for cervical myelopathy. The North American Spine Society (NASS) satisfaction index, Neck Disability Index (NDI), numeric rating scales for neck pain (NP-NRS) and arm pain (AP-NRS), EQ-5D, and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale were evaluated.


The analysis included 1141 patients diagnosed with myelopathy, of whom 1099 had an NASS satisfaction index recorded at any of the follow-up time points. Concomitant radiculopathy was an indication for surgery in 368 (33.5%) patients, and severe neck pain (NP-NRS ≥ 7) was present in 471 (42.8%) patients. At the 3-month follow-up, NASS patient satisfaction index scores were positively correlated with scores for the NP-NRS (r = 0.30), AP-NRS (r = 0.32), and NDI (r = 0.36) and negatively correlated with EQ-5D (r = -0.38) and mJOA (r = -0.29) scores (all p < 0.001). At the 12-month follow-up, scores for the NASS index were positively correlated with scores for the NP-NRS (r = 0.44), AP-NRS (r = 0.38), and NDI (r = 0.46) and negatively correlated with scores for the EQ-5D (r = -0.40) and mJOA (r = -0.36) (all p < 0.001). At the 24-month follow-up, NASS index scores were positively correlated with NP-NRS (r = 0.49), AP-NRS (r = 0.36), and NDI (r = 0.49) scores and negatively correlated with EQ-5D (r = -0.44) and mJOA (r = -0.38) scores (all p < 0.001).


Neck pain was highly prevalent in patients with myelopathy. Notably, improvement in neck pain-associated disability rather than improvement in myelopathy was the most prominent PRO factor for patients. This finding may reflect greater patient concern for active pain symptoms than for neurological symptoms caused by myelopathy. As commercial payers begin to examine novel remuneration strategies for surgical interventions, thoughtful analysis of PRO measurements will have increasing relevance.





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Publication Info

Zaki, Mark M, Rushikesh S Joshi, Sufyan Ibrahim, Giorgos D Michalopoulos, Joseph R Linzey, Yamaan S Saadeh, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Domagoj Coric, et al. (2023). How closely are outcome questionnaires correlated to patient satisfaction after cervical spine surgery for myelopathy?. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine, 38(5). pp. 521–529. 10.3171/2023.1.spine22888 Retrieved from

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Oren N Gottfried

Professor of Neurosurgery

I specialize in the surgical management of all complex cervical, thoracic, lumbar, or sacral spinal diseases by using minimally invasive as well as standard approaches for arthritis or degenerative disease, deformity, tumors, and trauma. I have a special interest in the treatment of thoracolumbar deformities, occipital-cervical problems, and in helping patients with complex spinal issues from previously unsuccessful surgery or recurrent disease.I listen to my patients to understand their symptoms and experiences so I can provide them with the information and education they need to manage their disease. I make sure my patients understand their treatment options, and what will work best for their individual condition. I treat all my patients with care and concern – just as I would treat my family. I am available to address my patients' concerns before and after surgery.  I aim to improve surgical outcomes for my patients and care of all spine patients with active research evaluating clinical and radiological results after spine surgery with multiple prospective databases. I am particularly interested in prevention of spinal deformity, infections, complications, and recurrent spinal disease. Also, I study whether patient specific variables including pelvic/sacral anatomy and sagittal spinal balance predict complications from spine surgery.


Khoi Duc Than

Professor of Neurosurgery

I chose to pursue neurosurgery as a career because of my fascination with the human nervous system. In medical school, I developed a keen interest in the diseases that afflict the brain and spine and gravitated towards the only field where I could help treat these diseases with my own hands. I focus on disorders of the spine where my first goal is to help patients avoid surgery if at all possible. If surgery is needed, I treat patients using the most advanced minimally invasive techniques available in order to minimize pain, blood loss, and hospital stay, while maximizing recovery, neurologic function, and quality of life. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am an avid sports fan and love to eat. I try to stay physically fit by going to the gym and playing ice hockey.

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