An evaluation of a postoperative rehabilitation program after spinal surgery and its impact on outcome

Alison H. McGregor, Ania Henley, Tim Morris, Caroline Dore, FASTER Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study design: This study invited patients to evaluate the content and style of a rehabilitation program used as an intervention in a multicenter, factorial, randomized controlled trial of the postoperative management of spinal surgery patients.

Objective: To determine the acceptability and content of the rehabilitation program.

Summary of background data: The use of rehabilitation after spinal surgery is sporadic, and the evidence for its benefit is mixed. A randomized controlled trial was conducted to determine whether functional outcome of spinal surgery could be improved by a postoperative rehabilitation program and/or an educational booklet provided at hospital discharge, each compared with usual care.

Methods: Patients randomized to postoperative rehabilitation began the course 6 weeks after surgery. At the end of the course of 12 classes, patients completed an evaluation of content, style, and length using forced choice and open questions. Patients not attending the final class completed the evaluation at their 3-month review.

Results: Compliance with rehabilitation was poor, with 41% of subjects failing to attend any classes and 16% attending less than half. Compliance with the evaluation was 100% for the 105 patients attending 1 or more classes. The length, content, and approach to the classes were rated positively, and patients gave the class a median rating of 9 of 10, range 5 to 10, with 91% rating the classes as 7 or above.

Conclusion: Compliance with a postoperative rehabilitation program was disappointing, but the program was assessed positively and of benefit by those who attended. Issues were raised in relation to timing and location of classes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E417-E422
Number of pages6
JournalSpine (Philadelphia, 1976)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012


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