J Korean Neurosurg Soc.  2019 Sep;62(5):561-566. 10.3340/jkns.2018.0131.

The Usefulness of a Wearable Device in Daily Physical Activity Monitoring for the Hospitalized Patients Undergoing Lumbar Surgery

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery & Medical Research Institue, Pusan National University Hospital, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Busan, Korea. farlateral@hanmail.net
  • 2SOOSANG ST Co., Inc., Busan, Korea.
  • 3Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea.


Functional outcomes have traditionally been evaluated and compared using subjective surveys, such as visual analog scores (VAS), the Oswestry disability index (ODI), and Short Form-36 (SF-36), to assess symptoms and quality of life. However, these surveys are limited by their subjective natures and inherent bias caused by differences in patient perceptions of symptoms. The Fitbit Charge® (Fitbit Inc., San Francisco, CA, USA) provides accurate and objective measures of physical activity. The use of this device in patients after laminectomy would provide objective physical measures that define ambulatory function, activity level, and degree of recovery. Therefore, the present study was conducted to identify relationships between the number of steps taken by patients per day and VAS pain scores, prognoses, and postoperative functional outcomes.
We prospectively investigated 22 consecutive patients that underwent laminectomy for spinal stenosis or a herniated lumbar disc between June 2015 and April 2016 by the same surgeon. When patients were admitted for surgery and first visited after surgery, preoperative and postoperative functional scores were recorded using VAS scores, ODI scores, and SF-36. The VAS scores and physical activities were recorded daily from postoperative day (POD) 1 to POD 7. The relationship between daily VAS scores and daily physical activities were investigated by simple correlation analysis and the relationship between mean number of steps taken and ODI scores after surgery was subjected to simple regression analysis. In addition, Wilcoxon's signed-rank test was used to investigate the significance of pre-to-postoperative differences in VAS, ODI, and SF-36 scores.
Pre-to-postoperative VAS (p<0.001), ODI (p<0.001), SF-36 mental composite scores (p=0.009), and SF-36 physical composite scores (p<0.001) scores were found to be significantly different. Numbers of steps taken from POD 1 to POD 7 were negatively correlated with daily VAS scores (r=-0.981, p<0.001). In addition, the mean number of steps from POD 3 to POD 7 and the decrease in ODI conducted one month after surgery were statistically significant (p=0.029).
Wearable devices are not only being used increasingly by consumers as lifestyle devices, but are also progressively being used in the medical area. This is the first study to demonstrate the usefulness of a wearable device for checking patient physical activity and predicting pain and prognosis after laminectomy. Based on our experience, the wearable device used to provide measures of physical activity in the present study has the potential to provide objective information on pain severity and prognosis.


Wearable electronic device; Visual analog scale; Laminectomy; Exercise

MeSH Terms

Bias (Epidemiology)
Life Style
Motor Activity*
Prospective Studies
Quality of Life
Spinal Stenosis
Visual Analog Scale
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