The appropriate management of persisting pain after spine surgery: a European panel study with recommendations based on the RAND/UCLA method

The appropriate management of persisting pain after spine surgery: a European panel study with recommendations based on the RAND/UCLA method

Volker M. Tronnier, Sam Eldabe, Jörg Franke, Frank Huygen, Philippe Rigoard, Javier de Andres Ares, Richard Assaker, Alejandro Gomez-Rice, Marco La Grua, Maarten Moens, Lieven Moke, Christophe Perruchoud, Nasir A. Quraishi, Dominique A. Rothenfluh, Pedram Tabatabaei, Koen Van Boxem, Carmen Vleggeert-Lankamp, Björn Zoëga, Herman J. Stoevelaar

August 2018, pp 1 - 15
DOI
10.1007/s00586-018-5711-0
First Online: 04 August 2018
Abstract

Purpose

Management of patients with persisting pain after spine surgery (PPSS) shows significant variability, and there is limited evidence from clinical studies to support treatment choice in daily practice. This study aimed to develop patient-specific recommendations on the management of PPSS.

Methods

Using the RAND/UCLA appropriateness method (RUAM), an international panel of 6 neurosurgeons, 6 pain specialists, and 6 orthopaedic surgeons assessed the appropriateness of 4 treatment options (conservative, minimally invasive, neurostimulation, and re-operation) for 210 clinical scenarios. These scenarios were unique combinations of patient characteristics considered relevant to treatment choice. Appropriateness had to be expressed on a 9-point scale (1 = extremely inappropriate, 9 = extremely appropriate). A treatment was considered appropriate if the median score was ≥ 7 in the absence of disagreement (≥ 1/3 of ratings in each of the opposite sections 1–3 and 7–9).

Results

Appropriateness outcomes showed clear and specific patterns. In 48% of the scenarios, exclusively one of the 4 treatments was appropriate. Conservative treatment was usually considered appropriate for patients without clear anatomic abnormalities and for those with new pain differing from the original symptoms. Neurostimulation was considered appropriate in the case of (predominant) neuropathic leg pain in the absence of conditions that may require surgical intervention. Re-operation could be considered for patients with recurrent disc, spinal/foraminal stenosis, or spinal instability.

Conclusions

Using the RUAM, an international multidisciplinary panel established criteria for appropriate treatment choice in patients with PPSS. These may be helpful to educate physicians and to improve consistency and quality of care.

Graphical abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]