Early postoperative physical activity and function: a descriptive case series study of 53 patients after lumbar spine surgery.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this prospective case series study was to compare changes in early postoperative physical activity and physical function between 6 weeks and 3 and 6 months after lumbar spine surgery. METHODS: Fifty-three patients (mean [95% confidence interval; CI] age = 59.2 [56.2, 62.3] years, 64% female) who underwent spine surgery for a degenerative lumbar condition were assessed at 6 weeks and 3- and 6-months after surgery. The outcomes were objectively-measured physical activity (accelerometry) and patient-reported and objective physical function. Physical activity was assessed using mean steps/day and time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) over a week. Physical function measures included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 12-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12), Timed Up and Go (TUG), and 10-Meter Walk (10 MW). We compared changes over time in physical activity and function using generalized estimating equations with robust estimator and first-order autoregressive covariance structure. Proportion of patients who engaged in meaningful physical activity (e.g., walked at least 4400 and 6000 steps/day or engaged in at least 150 min/week in MVPA) and achieved clinically meaningful changes in physical function were compared at 3 and 6 months. RESULTS: After surgery, 72% of patients initiated physical therapy (mean [95%CI] sessions =8.5 [6.6, 10.4]) between 6 weeks and 3 months. Compared to 6 weeks post-surgery, no change in steps/day or time in MVPA/week was observed at 3 or 6 months. From 21 to 23% and 9 to 11% of participants walked at least 4400 and 6000 steps/day at 3 and 6 months, respectively, while none of the participants spent at least 150 min/week in MVPA at these same time points. Significant improvements were observed on ODI, SF-12, TUG and 10 MW (p <  0.05), with over 43 to 68% and 62 to 87% achieving clinically meaningful improvements on these measures at 3 and 6 months, respectively. CONCLUSION: Limited improvement was observed in objectively-measured physical activity from 6 weeks to 6 months after spine surgery, despite moderate to large function gains. Early postoperative physical therapy interventions targeting physical activity may be needed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Coronado, RA; Master, H; White, DK; Pennings, JS; Bird, ML; Devin, CJ; Buchowski, MS; Mathis, SL; McGirt, MJ; Cheng, JS; Aaronson, OS; Wegener, ST; Archer, KR

Published Date

  • November 27, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 783 -

PubMed ID

  • 33246446

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7697379

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2474

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12891-020-03816-y


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England