Anne F. Mannion, Francine Mariaux, Valérie Pittet, Felix Steiger, Martin Aepli, Tamás F. Fekete, Dezső Jeszenszky, Dave O’Riordan, François Porchet

April 2021, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 907 - 917 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06725-3

First Online: 11 February 2021

Association between the appropriateness of surgery, according to appropriate use criteria, and patient-rated outcomes after surgery for lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis


Treatment failures in spine surgery are often attributable to poor patient selection and the application of inappropriate treatment. We used published appropriate use criteria (AUC) to evaluate the appropriateness of surgery in a large group of patients operated for lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis (LDS) and to evaluate its association with outcome.


This was a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected outcome data from patients operated in our Spine Centre, 2005–2012. Appropriateness of surgery was judged based on the AUC. Patients had completed the multidimensional Core Outcome Measures Index (COMI) before surgery and at 3 months' and 1, 2 and 5 years' follow-up (FU).


In total, 448 patients (69.8 ± 9.6 years; 323 (72%) women) were eligible for inclusion and the AUC could be applied in 393 (88%) of these. Surgery was considered appropriate (A) in 234 (59%) of the patients, uncertain/equivocal (U) in 90 (23%) and inappropriate (I) in 69 (18%). A/U patients had significantly (p 


The results suggest a relationship between appropriateness of surgery for LDS and the improvements in COMI score after surgery. The findings require confirmation in prospective studies that also include a control group of non-operated patients.

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