To determine the improvement of clinical outcomes in Workers’ Compensation (WC) patients compared with non-WC patients utilizing Patient-reported Outcome Measurement Information System Physical Function (PROMIS PF) following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). To our knowledge, there has not been a study to evaluate clinical outcomes of WC patients utilizing the PROMIS PF survey.

Patients undergoing a primary, 1 to 3-level ACDF were retrospectively reviewed and stratified according to insurance (WC and non-WC). Demographic and perioperative characteristics were compared using χ2 test and independent t tests. Change in PROMIS PF scores was calculated using paired t tests. Differences in postoperative PROMIS PF scores and changes in PROMIS PF from baseline were compared using linear regression.

In total, 124 1 to 3-level ACDF patients were included: 36 had WC insurance and 88 had non-WC insurance. WC patients were younger and more likely to be obese. WC patients reported significantly lower PROMIS PF scores preoperatively and at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 6 months timepoints. However, both cohorts reported comparable PROMIS PF scores at the 1-year timepoint. WC patients demonstrated similar improvements from baseline through 1-year postoperatively compared with non-WC patients. For both non-WC and WC cohort, the change in the postoperative PROMIS PF score from baseline was significant at 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. However, in both cohorts, the change in the postoperative PROMIS PF score from baseline was not significantly different at 6 weeks.

In our study, WC patients had worse baseline physical function as indicated by lower preoperative PROMIS PF scores and reported lower PROMIS PF scores postoperatively. However, there were no significant differences when comparing the postoperative change from baseline between the cohorts. Both cohorts experienced significant postoperative improvements from baseline. This study established that PROMIS PF is an effective tool to evaluate recovery of WC patients following ACDF.