Cervical myelopathy and radiculopathy leading to neck pain and arm weakness represent an important cause of disability among the elderly population.17 The rate of surgical intervention for cervical spine disease has seen an exponential rise in the last few decades, with an accumulated cost burden of more than $2 billion per year according to some estimates.11,19,28 In the recent era of rising healthcare scrutiny for providers and institutions and with the added focus on patient-centered outcomes, it has become critical for surgeons to optimize their patient outcomes.
Return to work after surgery represents one such outcome that has been increasingly prioritized in recent years. Loss of work hours due to back- or neck-related pathology is considered a significant economic burden warranting further research and optimization. Previous studies have used single-institution data with limited sample size to evaluate the role of certain clinical and operative factors that can predict return to work, and have shown variable results.13,19 There remains a paucity of literature on assessing the role and interplay of various demographic, occupation-related, and clinical variables in determining the probability of return to work after cervical spine surgery.
To address this knowledge gap, this study used data from a national spine registry to construct a predictive model as well as a nomogram to predict return to work after cervical spine surgery among patients who were employed preoperatively.
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