The surgical recovery index: A novel tool for measuring the advantage of laparoscopic surgery in postoperative recovery

M. A. Talamini, C. L. Stanfield, D. C. Chang, A. W. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: We developed a tool, the Surgical Recovery Index (SRI), specifically to measure surgical recovery. We then tested the ability of the SRI to discriminate between patients undergoing laparoscopic (L) operations and patients undergoing open (O) operations. Methods: We surveyed 50 patients drawn from the practice of a single surgeon to establish the types of activities that define recovery from surgery. Their responses were used to construct the SRI, a self-administered questionnaire using a numerical rank-order scale format. A total score and two subscale scores (pain and activity resumption) were calculated for each patient. Mean and median scores were calculated for each patient group. Chi-square tests were used to evaluate group differences for individual questions; t-tests and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to evaluate group differences for summary scores. Results: In all, 149 patients completed the SRI (60 L, 89 O). Cronbach's alphas were 0.91 for pain questions and 0.97 for activity resumption questions. The scores for pain level with time (L vs O, 1-10 scale) at week 1 (mean, 4.42 vs 6.06, p = 0.03), week 2 (mean, 3.08 vs 4.38, p = 0.04), week 3 (mean, 2.03 vs 3.16, p = 0.02), and week 4 (mean, 1.18 vs 2.28, p = 0.00) all favored laparoscopy. The scores for pain level with activity (L vs O, 1-3 scale) for getting out of bed (mean, 1.62 vs 1.85, p = 0.04), hygiene activities (mean, 1.38 vs 1.65, p = 0.04), and computer work (mean, 1.15 vs 1.56, p = 0.00) were all significant, although pain with exertion (mean, 1.87 vs 2.10, p = 0.13) was not. Delay until return to activity (L vs O, 1-4 scale) was significant, favoring L for 13 activities (all p < 0.02), but it was not significant for three activities. The scores for subscales for pain (L vs O, mean, 20.7 vs 34.4, respectively) and activity resumption delay (mean, 44.3 vs 62.0), as well as total scores (mean, 33.0 vs 49.0), were also significant (all p = 0.00). The same differences were observed when median scores were considered instead of mean scores, suggesting the robustness of the group difference. Conclusions: Reduction in time to full recovery (i.e., pain resolution and activity resumption) is a fundamental advantage of laparoscopic surgery, yet there are no tools designed to specifically measure recovery. These data provide preliminary evidence of the reliability and validity of the new SRI as a measure of recovery in patients undergoing laparoscopic operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-600
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004


  • Health status measures
  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Medical economics
  • Outcomes
  • Surgical Recovery Index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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