NASS News: Can High Expectations Lead to Disappointment in Spine Surgery?

Orthopedic Design & Technology—October 27, 2016

Orthopedic Design & Technology reports on recent news out of North American Spine Society (NASS). A study titled 'Greater Expectations of Pain Improvement Are Associated With Less Actual Pain Improvement After Lumbar Surgery' was selected as one of the best papers at the NASS 31st Annual Meeting.

According to this study, high expectations of pain improvement before a common back surgery are actually associated with less pain improvement after the procedure.

"Expecting greater pain improvement preoperatively is associated with patients' rating of less pain improvement postoperatively. Expecting complete pain improvement, in most cases, is unrealistic," said study lead author Federico P. Girardi, MD, orthopedic spine surgeon at HSS. "Given that expectations are potentially modifiable, this study supports addressing pain-related expectations with patients prior to surgery through discussions with surgeons and through formal patient education."

Other study authors from HSS include: Carol A. Mancuso, MD; Roland Duculan, MD; Alex Fong, BA; Manuela C. Rigaud, MA; Frank P. Cammisa, MD; Andrew A. Sama, MD; Alexander P. Hughes, MD, and Darren R. Lebl, MD.

To read the full article, please visit


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