Does the number of social factors affect long-term patient-reported outcomes and satisfaction in those with cervical myelopathy? A QOD study.


It is not clear whether there is an additive effect of social factors in keeping patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) from achieving both a minimum clinically important difference (MCID) in outcomes and satisfaction after surgery. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of multiple social factors on postoperative outcomes and satisfaction. This was a multiinstitutional, retrospective study of the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) CSM cohort, which included patients aged 18 years or older who were diagnosed with primary CSM and underwent operative management. Social factors included race (White vs non-White), education (high school or below vs above), employment (employed vs not), and insurance (private vs nonprivate). Patients were considered to have improved from surgery if the following criteria were met: 1) they reported a score of 1 or 2 on the North American Spine Society index, and 2) they met the MCID in patient-reported outcomes (i.e., visual analog scale [VAS] neck and arm pain, Neck Disability Index [NDI], and EuroQol-5D [EQ-5D]). Of the 1141 patients included in the study, 205 (18.0%) had 0, 347 (30.4%) had 1, 334 (29.3%) had 2, and 255 (22.3%) had 3 social factors. The 24-month follow-up rate was > 80% for all patient-reported outcomes. After adjusting for all relevant covariates (p < 0.02), patients with 1 or more social factors were less likely to improve from surgery in all measured outcomes including VAS neck pain (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83-0.99) and arm pain (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.80-0.96); NDI (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83-0.98); and EQ-5D (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83-0.97) (all p < 0.05) compared to those without any social factors. Patients with 2 social factors (outcomes: neck pain OR 0.86, arm pain OR 0.81, NDI OR 0.84, EQ-5D OR 0.81; all p < 0.05) or 3 social factors (outcomes: neck pain OR 0.84, arm pain OR 0.84, NDI OR 0.84, EQ-5D OR 0.84; all p < 0.05) were more likely to fare worse in all outcomes compared to those with only 1 social factor. Compared to those without any social factors, patients who had at least 1 social factor were less likely to achieve MCID and feel satisfied after surgery. The effect of social factors is additive in that patients with a higher number of factors are less likely to improve compared to those with only 1 social factor.





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Publication Info

Park, Christine, Christopher I Shaffrey, Khoi D Than, Erica F Bisson, Brandon A Sherrod, Anthony L Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A Potts, et al. (2024). Does the number of social factors affect long-term patient-reported outcomes and satisfaction in those with cervical myelopathy? A QOD study. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine. pp. 1–11. 10.3171/2023.11.spine23127 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.


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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