Correlation of the Modified Japanese Orthopedic Association With Functional and Quality-of-Life Outcomes After Surgery for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: A Quality Outcomes Database Study.



The modified Japanese Orthopedic Association (mJOA) score is a widely used and validated metric for assessing severity of myelopathy. Its relationship to functional and quality-of-life outcomes after surgery has not been fully described.


To quantify the association of the mJOA with the Neck Disability Index (NDI) and EuroQol-5 Dimension (EQ-5D) after surgery for degenerative cervical myelopathy.


The cervical module of the prospectively enrolled Quality Outcomes Database was queried retrospectively for adult patients who underwent single-stage degenerative cervical myelopathy surgery. The mJOA score, NDI, and EQ-5D were assessed preoperatively and 3 and 12 months postoperatively. Improvement in mJOA was used as the independent variable in univariate and multivariable linear and logistic regression models.


Across 14 centers, 1121 patients were identified, mean age 60.6 ± 11.8 years, and 52.5% male. Anterior-only operations were performed in 772 patients (68.9%). By univariate linear regression, improvements in mJOA were associated with improvements in NDI and EQ-5D at 3 and 12 months postoperatively (all P < .0001) and with improvements in the 10 NDI items individually. These findings were similar in multivariable regression incorporating potential confounders. The Pearson correlation coefficients for changes in mJOA with changes in NDI were -0.31 and -0.38 at 3 and 12 months postoperatively. The Pearson correlation coefficients for changes in mJOA with changes in EQ-5D were 0.29 and 0.34 at 3 and 12 months.


Improvements in mJOA correlated weakly with improvements in NDI and EQ-5D, suggesting that changes in mJOA may not be a suitable proxy for functional and quality-of-life outcomes.





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Publication Info

Yee, Timothy J, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Domagoj Coric, Eric A Potts, Erica F Bisson, Jay Turner, Jack J Knightly, Kai-Ming Fu, et al. (2022). Correlation of the Modified Japanese Orthopedic Association With Functional and Quality-of-Life Outcomes After Surgery for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: A Quality Outcomes Database Study. Neurosurgery, 91(6). pp. 952–960. 10.1227/neu.0000000000002161 Retrieved from

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Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.


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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