Send to

Choose Destination
Patient Educ Couns. 1998 Jun;34(2):169-78.

The prognostic importance of patient pre-operative expectations of surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis.

Author information

Department of Physical Therapy, Bouve College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The influence of psychosocial variables in the outcome of surgery for lumbar stenosis (LSS) has not been evaluated. We studied 257 patients with LSS pre-operatively and at 6 months to: (a) relate patient expectations of surgery to baseline function and pain; and (b) determine how patient expectations and pre-operative function interact to predict post-operative outcomes.


On average, patients experienced substantial pain relief, improved function and satisfaction. Patients with many pre-operative expectations, particularly patients with low baseline function, reported more improvement in post-operative function than patients with few expectations. More ambitious expectations for physical function were also associated with improved function and satisfaction at 6 months. Conversely, having more numerous pain relief expectations was associated with more pain and less satisfaction with pain relief.


Patient expectations influence recovery from surgery at 6 months. To improve outcomes and satisfaction, clinicians should discuss expectations with patients pre-operatively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center