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Differences in presurgical MMPI-3 scores across trajectories of recovery from spine surgery.

Psychological Assessment 2024 January 19
Approximately 30% of patients who undergo spinal surgery for chronic back pain continue to experience significant pain and disability up to 2 months following surgery. Prior studies have identified mental health variables including depression and anxiety as predictors of poorer postsurgical outcomes using screening instruments, but no studies have examined long-term outcomes using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-3 (MMPI-3), a commonly used tool used in presurgical psychological evaluations (PPE). Using group-based trajectory modeling and a sample of 404 spine surgery evaluees, the present study examined the trajectories of changes in disability scores from presurgery through 3, 12, and 24 months postsurgery. We then compared scores on MMPI-3 scales between trajectory groups. We identified three trajectory groups of change in disability over time: a rapid-remitting group (8%), characterized by moderate presurgical disability that rapidly and substantially remitted by 12 and 24 months; a steady-recovering group (68%), characterized by moderate presurgical disability, slower change over time, and mild levels of disability at the 2-year time point; and a persisting disability group (24%), characterized by severe presurgical disability that continued into long-term follow-ups. Participants in the persisting pain group produced higher presurgical scores on somatic/cognitive and internalizing MMPI-3 scales than participants in the rapid-remitting and steady-recovering groups. Our results support the clinical utility of the MMPI-3 in PPEs and highlight the importance of evaluating somatic/cognitive concerns and internalizing dysfunction to identify patients who are likely to have poorer postsurgical outcomes. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved).

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