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Global Spine J. 2018 May;8(3):231-236. doi: 10.1177/2192568217706700. Epub 2017 May 31.

Immediate Postoperative Pain Scores Predict Neck Pain Profile up to 1 Year Following Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion.

Author information

Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA.
Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.
The University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.
Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX, USA.


Study Design:

Retrospective cohort review.


To assess whether immediate postoperative neck pain scores accurately predict 12-month visual analog scale-neck pain (VAS-NP) outcomes following Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion surgery (ACDF).


This was a retrospective study of 82 patients undergoing elective ACDF surgery at a major academic medical center. Patient reported outcomes measures VAS-NP scores were recorded on the first postoperative day, then at 6-weeks, 3, 6, and 12-months after surgery. Multivariate correlation and logistic regression methods were utilized to determine whether immediate postoperative VAS-NP score accurately predicted 1-year patient reported VAS-NP Scores.


Overall, 46.3% male, 25.6% were smokers, and the mean age and body mass index (BMI) were 53.7 years and 28.28 kg/m2, respectively. There were significant correlations between immediate postoperative pain scores and neck pain scores at 6 weeks VAS-NP (P = .0015), 6 months VAS-NP (P = .0333), and 12 months VAS-NP (P = .0247) after surgery. Furthermore, immediate postoperative pain score is an independent predictor of 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year VAS-NP scores.


Our study suggests that immediate postoperative patient reported neck pain scores accurately predicts and correlates with 12-month VAS-NP scores after an ACDF procedure. Patients with high neck pain scores after surgery are more likely to report persistent neck pain 12 months after index surgery.


ACDF; VAS-NP; anterior cervical discectomy and fusion; neck pain; pain score; patient-reported outcomes; spine surgery

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Conflicting Interests: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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