Outcomes Calculators

- for Informed Decision Making in Back Surgery

Patients who understand their individualized likelihood of benefits or harms with surgery are more likely to make treatment choices that are consistent with their goals and values. However, patients often lack pertinent information when considering back surgery. Incorporating clinical evidence into routine practice has been an on-going challenge in management of low back problems. Creating a customized interpretation for individual patients based on their personal characteristics could improve patient decision-making.

The overarching goal of Dartmouth MCRC Project 2 is to improve dissemination of the validated clinical evidence on individualized risk-benefit tradeoffs for patients considering lumbar spine surgery. This project, based on a unique collaboration between clinical researchers at Dartmouth and Consumers Reports, has developed web-based tools to facilitate the transfer of scientific research from complex clinical trials directly to consumers and patients. The calculator is being freely disseminated as a web application. It offers patients and providers the personalized evidence to inform their decisions regarding back surgery. To view the calculator, click on the link below.

Back Treatment Outcomes Calculator >>

Tor Tosteson, ScD - Project Leader
Jon Lurie, MD - Project Leader
William Abdu, MD, MS
Kristina Mycek, PhD, Consumers Union
Adam Pearson, MD, MS
Doris Peter, PhD, Consumers Union
Emily A. Scherer, PhD
Kevin Spratt, PhD


The SPORT/Consumer Reports Treatment Outcomes Calculator for Surgical and Nonsurgical Treatment of Disc Herniation, Spinal Stenosis and Degenerative Spondylolisthesis.
SPINEWEEK 2016, May 2016;
External Comparisons of a Treatment Outcomes Calculator for Surgical and Nonsurgical Treatment of Disc Herniation
ISSLS, June 2015; Accuracy of Models for Predicting Patient Centered Outcomes After Surgical and Non-Operative Treatment for Low Back Pain Conditions
ISSLS, May 2017;
knowledge informs change