Cost-utility analysis, a special case of cost-effectiveness analysis, estimates the ratio between the cost of an intervention to the benefit it produces in number of quality-adjusted life years. Cervical deformity correction has not been evaluated in terms of cost-utility and in the context of value-based health care. Our objective, therefore, was to determine the cost-utility ratio of cervical deformity correction.
This is a retrospective review of a prospective, multicenter cervical deformity database. Patients with 1-year follow-up after surgical correction for cervical deformity were included. Cervical deformity was defined as the presence of at least one of the following: kyphosis (C2-C7 Cobb angle >10°), cervical scoliosis (coronal Cobb angle >10°), positive cervical sagittal malalignment (C2-C7 sagittal vertical axis >4 cm or T1-C6 >10°), or horizontal gaze impairment (chin-brow vertical angle >25°). Quality-adjusted life years were calculated by both EuroQol 5D (EQ5D) quality of life and Neck Disability Index (NDI) mapped to short form six dimensions (SF6D) index. Costs were assigned using Medicare 1-year average reimbursement for: 9+ level posterior fusions (PF), 4-8 level PF, 4-8 level PF with anterior fusion (AF), 2-3 level PF with AF, 4-8 level AF, and 4-8 level posterior refusion. Reoperations and deaths were added to cost and subtracted from utility, respectively. Quality-adjusted life year per dollar spent was calculated using standardized methodology at 1-year time point and subsequent time points relying on maintenance of 1-year utility.
Eighty-four patients (average age: 61.2 years, 60% female, body mass index [BMI]: 30.1) were analyzed after cervical deformity correction (average levels fused: 7.2, osteotomy used: 50%). Costs associated with index procedures were 9+ level PF ($76,617), 4-8 level PF ($40,596), 4-8 level PF with AF ($67,098), 4-8 level AF ($31,392), and 4-8 level posterior refusion ($35,371). Average 1-year reimbursement of surgery was $55,097 at 1 year with eight revisions and three deaths accounted for. Cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained to 1-year follow-up was $646,958 by EQ5D and $477,316 by NDI SF6D. If 1-year benefit is sustained, upper threshold of cost-effectiveness is reached 3-4.5 years after intervention.
Medicare 1-year average reimbursement compared with 1-year QALYdescribed $646,958 by EQ5D and $477,316 by NDI SF6D. Cervical deformity surgeries reach accepted cost-effectiveness thresholds when benefit is sustained 3-4.5 years. Longer follow-up is needed for a more definitive cost-analysis, but these data are an important first step in justifying cost-utility ratio for cervical deformity correction.
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