The London Spine Unit : most specialised day surgery unit on Harley Street UK
CONCLUSIONS: Costing methodology remains obscure and inconsistent and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio results incomparable. The language of costing methodology must be standardized and sensitivity analyses of outcome and cost inputs mandatory for publication.Lumbar Disc Replacement Expert. Best Spinal Surgeon UK
Background: Increasing costs put the value of spine surgery under scrutiny. In health economics, cost-effectiveness analyses (CEA) are used to compare the value of competing procedures. However, inconsistent methodology prevents standardization and implementation of recommendations. The goal of this study is to perform a systematic review of all U.S. CEAs in spine surgery reported to date, highlight their strengths and weaknesses, and define metrics essential for high-quality CEAs.
Methods: We followed AMSTAR systematic review methods, identifying all U.S. spine surgery CEAs reported to March 2019 with a structured, reproducible search of PubMed, Embase, and the Tufts CEA Registry.
Results: We identified 40 CEA studies. Twelve (30%) used outcome data from a randomized controlled trial. To calculate costs, 22 (55%) used allowed charges but costing methods were often unclear or imprecise. Studies applying discounting had mean follow-up of 5.92 years compared with 3.00 years for studies without. Eleven of 15 (73%) cervical studies compared cervical disc arthroplasty with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, finding cervical disc arthroplasty to be cost-effective (<$100,000/quality-adjusted life year) for 1-level and 2-level procedures. Eleven of 25 lumbar studies (44%) compared operative with nonoperative interventions for intervertebral disc herniation, lumbar stenosis, and lumbar spondylolisthesis. Lumbar studies comparing surgical with nonoperative intervention found surgery at least cost-effective for intervertebral disc herniation and lumbar stenosis, but cost-effective only for lumbar spondylolisthesis at 4 years follow-up. Most studies (70%) lacked appropriate sensitivity analyses.
Conclusions: Costing methodology remains obscure and inconsistent and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio results incomparable. The language of costing methodology must be standardized and sensitivity analyses of outcome and cost inputs mandatory for publication.
Keywords: Cost-effectiveness analysis; Spine surgery; Systematic review.
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