PROMIS Physical Function for prediction of postoperative pain, narcotics consumption, and patient-reported outcomes following minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion

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This study aimed to determine if the preoperative Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System, Physical Function (PROMIS PF) score is predictive of immediate postoperative patient pain and narcotics consumption or long-term patient-reported outcomes (PROs) following minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF).


A prospectively maintained database was retrospectively reviewed. Patients who underwent primary, single-level MIS TLIF for degenerative pathology were identified and grouped by their preoperative PROMIS PF scores: mild disability (score 40–50), moderate disability (score 30–39.9), and severe disability (score 20–29.9). Postoperative pain was quantified using the visual analog scale (VAS), and narcotics consumption was quantified using Oral Morphine Equivalents. PROMIS PF, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey, Physical Component Summary (SF-12 PCS), and VAS back and leg pain were collected preoperatively and at 6-week, 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month follow-up. Preoperative PROMIS PF subgroups were tested for an association with demographic and perioperative characteristics using 1-way ANOVA or chi-square analysis. Preoperative PROMIS PF subgroups were tested for an association with immediate postoperative pain and narcotics consumption in addition to improvements in PROMIS PF, ODI, SF-12 PCS, and VAS back and leg pain by using linear regression controlling for statistically different demographic characteristics.


A total of 130 patients were included in this analysis. Patients were grouped by their preoperative PROMIS PF scores: 15.4% had mild disability, 63.8% had moderate disability, and 20.8% had severe disability. There were no significant differences among the subgroups in terms of age, sex, smoking status, and comorbidity burden. Patients with greater disability were more likely to be obese and to have workers’ compensation insurance. There were no differences among subgroups in regard to operative levels, operative time, estimated blood loss, and hospital length of stay. Patients with greater disability reported higher VAS pain scores and narcotics consumption for postoperative day 0 and postoperative day 1. Patients with greater preoperative disability demonstrated lower PROMIS PF, ODI, SF-12 PCS, and worse VAS pain scores at each postoperative time point.


Patients with worse preoperative disability, as assessed by PROMIS PF, experienced increased pain and narcotics consumption, along with less improvement in long-term PROs. The authors conclude that PROMIS PF is an efficient and accurate instrument that can quickly assess patient disability in the preoperative period and predict both short-term and long-term surgical outcomes.

ABBREVIATIONS BMI = body mass index; CCI = Charlson Comorbidity Index; LOS = length of hospital stay; MIS TLIF = minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion; ODI = Oswestry Disability Index; OME = Oral Morphine Equivalent; POD = postoperative day; PRO = patient-reported outcome; PROMIS PF = Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System, Physical Function; SF-12 PCS = 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey, Physical Component Summary; VAS = visual analog scale.

Article Information

Correspondence Kern Singh: Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online February 1, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2018.9.SPINE18863.

Disclosures Dr. Singh is a consultant for Zimmer Biomet and K2M. He is a member of the board of directors for Vital 5 LLC, TDi LLC, and the Minimally Invasive Spine Study Group. He is on the editorial board for Contemporary Spine Surgery, Orthopedics Today, and Vertebral Columns. He receives royalties from Zimmer Biomet, Stryker, RTI Surgical, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Thieme, Jaypee Publishing, and Slack Publishing. He receives grants from the Cervical Spine Research Society.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.



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    Line graphs demonstrating improvements in PROs by disability subgroups, as defined by preoperative PROMIS PF scores. Figure is available in color online only.


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