Prolo Score

Name and Synonyms

Prolo Scale, Prolo Economic Scale, Prolo Score

Source Article

Prolo D, Oklund SA, Butcher M (1986) Toward uniformity in evaluating results of lumbar spine operations. A paradigm applied to posterior lumbar interbody fusions. Spine 11(6):601–606.


This is a 10-point scale consisting of only two questions evaluating the functional and economic status of the patient. It can be described as an outcome disability tool (originally designed for use as an outcome measurement for patients in whom underwent posterior lumbar interbody fusions) measures economic and functional status of the patient before and after treatment.

Structure / Content      

The scale below is modified for cervical myelopathy patients.

Economic status

  •  Complete invalidity    (1)
  •  No gainful occupation, including ability to do housework, or continue retirement activities    (2)
  •  Able to work, but not at previous occupation; able to perform housework and retirement activities    (3)
  •  Working at previous occupation part-time or limited status    (4)
  •  Able to work at previous occupation with no restrictions of any kind    (5)

Functional status

  •  Total incapacity (postoperative: worse than prior to operation)     (1)
  •  Difficulty in walking, needing a cane or crutch or persistent moderate motor weakness in upper limb (able to perform tasks of daily living)    (2)
  •  Slight difficulty in walking, but without help; slight motor weakness in upper limb, moderate pain, persistent paraesthesia    (3)
  •  No difficulty in walking, no motor weakness in upper limb, no pain but persistent paraesthesia    (4)
  •  No difficulty in walking, no motor weakness in upper limb, no pain, no paraesthesia, able to perform sports activities    (5)


Total score    2–10

Scoring Method and Interpretation

The lower the score the more severe the deficits. Normal function: 9 + 10, grade 1: 7 + 8, grade 2: 5 + 6, grade 3: 2–4.

Weight of the criterion in percentage of 10 points: economic status 50%; functional status 50%




There is also a modified Prolo scale frequently for use in patients in whom underwent cervical operative procedures.

Scientific Spine's Comment

Because of the simplicity of the scale, it may not tell the full story because there is no pain scale or analgesic usage incorporated into the scale.

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