Development and testing of an expectations survey for patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery

Carol A. Mancuso, Frank P. Cammisa, Andrew A. Sama, Alexander P. Hughes, Hassan M K Ghomrawi, Federico P. Girardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: Patients' expectations of lumbar spine surgery have not been obtained with valid and reliable scales derived from patients' perspectives. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to develop and to test a patient-derived expectations survey. Methods: The survey was developed in three phases. Phase 1 involved interviews with patients with open-ended questions about expectations and assembly of a draft survey. Phase 2 involved administering the survey twice to assess test-retest reliability. Phase 3 involved selection of final items based on concordance of responses and clinical relevance, and the development of a scoring rubric. Results: In Phase 1, 118 preoperative patients with diverse lumbar spine diagnoses volunteered 583 expectations, from which thirty-one discrete categories were discerned and became the items for the draft survey. In Phase 2, another fifty-six preoperative patients completed the draft survey twice, four days apart. In Phase 3, twenty-one items were retained for the final survey addressing symptom relief, return to basic mobility, resumption of activities, and improvement in psychosocial well-being. An overall score was calculated on the basis of the number of expectations and amount of improvement expected and ranged from 0 to 100 points; a higher score indicates more expectations. For patients in Phase 2, the mean scores for both administrations were 66 and 65 points, the Cronbach alpha coefficients for both administrations were 0.90 and 0.92, and the intraclass correlation coefficient between scores was 0.86. Conclusions: We developed a patient-derived survey that is valid, reliable, and applicable to diverse diagnoses and includes physical and psychosocial expectations. The survey generates an overall score that is easy to calculate and to interpret, and thus fills a gap in the assessment of lumbar spine surgery by offering a practical and comprehensive way to record patients' expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1793-1800
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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