Clinical Outcomes in Spine Surgery

Pain Level Before and After Surgery

The graph compares the average reported pain (Low Back Pain or Neck Pain) levels of our patients before treatment and after surgery.


This data was collected from November 2017 to April 2019.


The pain levels shown were assessed using the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS).


Pain is rated on a scale of 0-10 that best fits our patient’s pain intensity. 0 represents ‘no pain at all’ and the upper limit represents ‘the worst pain ever possible’.

Oswestry Disability Index Before and After Surgery

We measured how Low Back Pain or Neck Pain has affected the ability of our patients to manage their activities of daily living, by using a standardized measuring tool - The Oswestry Disability Index or ODI. 


ODI is a 10-item questionnaire that assesses how a patient’s pain affects different aspects of his or her life such as walking, sitting, standing and lifting. 


The graph shows our patients' functional disability before and after surgery. Data was collected from April 2017 to April 2019. The scale ranges from 0% to 100% with 0% being no disability and 100% being complete disability.

Return to Work After Surgery

How soon a patient will be able to return to work after undergoing a spine surgery is an important and common question. Studies have shown that the time to return to work after spine surgery for patients in heavy labor was approximately 5 months, while patients in light labor was approximately 3.2 months. More specifically, studies evaluating only lumbar spine fusions have shown that the average time to return to work was 6.1 months to 10.9 months. 


The graph shown below presents data recording return to work times after moderate to complex spine surgeries performed at Northwest Surgery Center. The data was collected between January 2015 to April 2019. The experience in our center reveals significantly faster return to work times than data reported in other studies. In our center, most patients (70%) return to work in less than 3 months after spine surgery.




Numbers of days before returning to work

  • 0-3 Months

  • 3-6 Months

  • 6 or more Months

Percentage of Patients

  • 70%

  • 19%

  • 11%

Infection Rate after Spine Surgery 

Postoperative surgical site infections can be a relatively common complication. It has been shown in many studies that the infection rate can be 6% or higher after undergoing spine surgery. Surgical site infections increase the average hospital length of stays by 9-10 days. We take special care before, during and after all surgeries to ensure the lowest risk possible of a post operative infection. By taking these precautions as well as by performing surgery on an outpatient basis, we have been able to achieve an infection rate of 0.026%.

Infection Rate


Direct Transfer To Acute Care (Hospital or Emergency Room)

Patients undergoing surgery at an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) are expected to recover in their homes after being discharged. Providers attempt to ensure the procedures performed for each patient are appropriate for an ASC setting based on the medical status and complexity of the surgery. Hospital transfers from an ASC, emergency department visits and/or unplanned hospital admission within one day of a patient being discharged may occur and cannot always be anticipated in advance. In our experience at Northwest Surgery Center, from 2014 through present, none of our patients have needed to be transferred nor have they been to either the emergency room or admitted to a hospital within one day of being discharged. This reflects that at Northwest Surgery Center our patients have been safely cared for on an outpatient basis and are able to recover from surgery in the comfort of their homes as planned.

Hospital Transfer and Admission Rate