Risk factors for not reaching minimal clinically important difference at 90 days and 1 year after elective lumbar spine surgery: a cohort study

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of neurosurgery. Spine


OBJECTIVE: Patient-perceived functional improvement is a core metric in lumbar surgery for degenerative disease. It is important to identify both modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors that can be evaluated and possibly optimized prior to elective surgery. This case-control study was designed to study risk factors for not achieving the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Function 4-item Short Form (PROMIS PF) score.

METHODS: The authors queried the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative database to identify patients who underwent elective lumbar surgical procedures with PROMIS PF scores. Cases were divided into two cohorts based on whether patients achieved MCID at 90 days and 1 year after surgery. Patient characteristics and operative details were analyzed as potential risk factors.

RESULTS: The authors captured 10,922 patients for 90-day follow-up and 4453 patients (40.8%) did not reach MCID. At the 1-year follow-up period, 7780 patients were identified and 2941 patients (37.8%) did not achieve MCID. The significant demographic characteristic-adjusted relative risks (RRs) for both groups (RR 90 day, RR 1 year) included the following: symptom duration > 1 year (1.34, 1.41); previous spine surgery (1.25, 1.30); African American descent (1.25, 1.20); chronic opiate use (1.23, 1.25); and less than high school education (1.20, 1.34). Independent ambulatory status (0.83, 0.88) and private insurance (0.91, 0.85) were associated with higher likelihood of reaching MCID at 90 days and 1 year, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Several key unique demographic risk factors were identified in this cohort study that precluded optimal postoperative functional outcomes after elective lumbar spine surgery. With this information, appropriate preoperative counseling can be administered to assist in shaping patient expectations.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Black or African American; Case-Control Studies; Cohort Studies; Minimal Clinically Important Difference; Risk Factors; Spine

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print





First Page


Last Page