Preoperative Mental Health Component Scoring Is Related to Patient Reported Outcomes following Lumbar Fusion

Justin D. Stull*, Srikanth N. Divi, Dhruv K.C. Goyal, Daniel R. Bowles, Ariana A. Reyes, Joseph Bechay, John Hayden Sonnier, Ryan N. Nachwalter, Joseph J. Zarowin, Matthew S. Galetta, Ian David Kaye, Barrett I. Woods, Mark F. Kurd, Kris E. Radcliff, Jeffrey A. Rihn, David Greg Anderson, Alan S. Hilibrand, Christopher K. Kepler, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Gregory D. Schroeder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Study Design.Retrospective cohort review.Objective.The objective of this study was to identify depression using the Mental Component Score (MCS-12) of the Short Form-12 (SF-12) survey and to correlate with patient outcomes.Summary of Background Data.The impact of preexisting depressive symptoms on health-care related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes following lumbar spine fusion is not well understood.Methods.Patients undergoing lumbar fusion between one to three levels at a single center, academic hospital were retrospectively identified. Patients under the age of 18 years and those undergoing surgery for infection, trauma, tumor, or revision, and less than 1-year follow-up were excluded. Patients with depressive symptoms were identified using an existing clinical diagnosis or a score of MCS-12 less than or equal to 45.6 on the preoperative SF-12 survey. Absolute HRQOL scores, the recovery ratio (RR) and the percent of patients achieving minimum clinically important difference (MCID) between groups were compared, and a multiple linear regression analysis was performed.Results.A total of 391 patients were included in the total cohort, with 123 (31.5%) patients reporting symptoms of depression based on MCS-12 and 268 (68.5%) without these symptoms. The low MCS-12 group was found to have significantly worse preoperative Oswestry disability index (ODI), visual analogue scale back pain (VAS Back) and visual analogue scale leg pain (VAS Leg) scores, and postoperative SF-12 physical component score (PCS-12), ODI, VAS Back, and VAS Leg pain scores (P < 0.05) than the non-depressed group. Finally, multiple linear regression analysis revealed preoperative depression to be a significant predictor of worse outcomes after lumbar fusion.Conclusion.Patients with depressive symptoms, identified with an MCS-12 cutoff below 45.6, were found to have significantly greater disability in a variety of HRQOL domains at baseline and postoperative measurement, and demonstrated less improvement in all outcome domains included in the analysis compared with patients without depression. However, while the improvement was less, even the low MCS-12 cohort demonstrated statistically significant improvement in all HRQOL outcome measures after surgery.Level of Evidence: 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-803
Number of pages6
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2020


  • Oswestry disability index
  • SF-12 mental component score
  • SF-12 physical component score
  • depression
  • health related quality of life outcomes
  • patient reported outcome measurements
  • visual analogue scale back pain
  • visual analogue scale leg pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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