The F2RaD score: A novel prediction score and calculator tool to identify patients at risk of postoperative C5 palsy

Daniel Lubelski, Zach Pennington, James Feghali, Andrew Schilling, Jeff Ehresman, Nicholas Theodore, Ali Bydon, Allan Belzberg, Daniel M. Sciubba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Postoperative C5 palsy is a debilitating complication following posterior cervical decompression. OBJECTIVE: To create a simple clinical risk score predicting the occurrence of C5 palsy METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed all patients who underwent posterior cervical decompressions between 2007 and 2017. Data was randomly split into training and validation datasets. Multivariable analysis was performed to construct the model from the training dataset. A scoring system was developed based on the model coefficients and a web-based calculator was deployed. RESULTS: The cohort consisted of 415 patients, of which 65 (16%) developed C5 palsy. The optimal model consisted of: mean C4/5 foraminal diameter (odds ratio [OR] = 9.1 for lowest quartile compared to highest quartile), preoperative C5 radiculopathy (OR = 3.5), and dexterity loss (OR = 2.9). The receiver operating characteristic yielded an area under the curve of 0.757 and 0.706 in the training and validation datasets, respectively. Every characteristic was worth 1 point except the lowest quartile of mean C4/5 foraminal diameter, which was worth 2 points, and the factors were summarized by the acronym F2RaD. The median predicted probability of C5 palsy increased from 2% in patients with a score of 0 to 70% in patients with a score of 4. The calculator can be accessed on CONCLUSION: This study yielded a simplified scoring system and clinical calculator that predicts the occurrence of C5 palsy. Individualized risk prediction for patients may facilitate better understanding of the risks and benefits for an operation, and better prepare them for this possible adverse outcome. Furthermore, modifying the surgical plan in high-risk patients may possibly improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-588
Number of pages7
JournalOperative Neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • C5 Palsy
  • Calculator
  • Posterior cervical decompression
  • Prediction score
  • Risk profile
  • Web-based calculator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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