Outcome Reporting in Spine Surgery: A Review of Historical and Emerging Trends

Ali Saif R. Khan, Tobias A. Mattei, Phillipe J. Mercier, Michael Cloney, Nader S. Dahdaleh, Tyler R. Koski, Najib E. El Tecle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The general objectives of spine surgery are to alleviate pain, restore neurologic function, and prevent or treat spinal deformities or instability. The accumulating expanse of outcome measures has allowed us to more objectively quantify these variables and, therefore, gauge the success of treatments, ultimately improving the quality of the delivered health care. It has become increasingly evident that spinal conditions and their accompanying interventions affect all aspects of a patient's life, including their physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. This underscores the challenge of creating clinically relevant and accurate outcome measures in spine care, and the reason why there is a growing recognition of the importance of subjective measures such as patient-reported outcome measures, that consider a patients’ health-related quality of life. Subjective measures provide valuable insights into patient experiences and perceptions of treatment outcomes, whereas objective measures provide a reproducible glimpse into key radiographic and clinical parameters that are associated with a successful outcome. In this narrative review, we provide a detailed analysis of the most common subjective and objective outcome measures employed in spine surgery, with a special focus on their current role as well as the possible future of outcome reporting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-98
Number of pages11
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Health-related quality of life (HRQOL)
  • Objective measurement
  • Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs)
  • Spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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