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Cost comparison of patients with 3-level artificial total lumbar disc replacements versus 360° fusion at 3 contiguous lumbar vertebral levels: an analysis of compassionate use at 1 site of the US investigational device exemption clinical trial

Frank A. Buttacavoli, MD, Rick B. Delamarter, MD, Linda E.A. Kanim, MA



We sought to evaluate the difference between hospital service costs of 2 treatment options for patients diagnosed with 3-level degenerative disc disease (DDD) in the lumbar spine. In this retrospective analysis, itemized billing records of hospital stay for patients with 3-level DDD treated with artificial disc replacement (ADR) were compared with those treated with circumferential fusion (standard of care).


Sequential 3-level DDD patients treated with either ADR (ProDisc-L; Synthes, West Chester, Pennsylvania) or circumferential fusion during the period from January 2004 to October 2005 were included. Surgeries were performed at the same hospital for all patients. The ADR-treated patients were participating in the investigational device exemption clinical trial as part of the compassionate-use arm. Patients treated with fusion at the same institution during this same time interval were evaluated. Itemized billing records were collected at least 1 year after the index surgery. Costs according to hospital service categories were compared between ADR-treated and fusion-treated patients by use of analysis of variance and multivariate statistical techniques.


There were 43 consecutive patients treated for 3-level DDD between January 2004 and October 2005. Of these, 21 underwent 3-level ADR and 22 had a 3-level fusion procedure. There was a mean of 3 fewer hospital days for patients treated with ADR (4.77 ± 1.11 days) than for those treated with fusion (8.00 ± 1.82 days) (P < .0001). The cost of hospital services for ADR-treated patients was 49% less excluding instrumentation costs and 54% less when accounting for instrumentation. The pattern of cost was similar when workers' compensation patients were analyzed separately.


ADR-treated 3-level patients benefited from significantly lower costs from their in-hospital stay compared with those treated by fusion. Hospital service costs were 49% (54% when instrumentation was included in the costs) less for ADR patients than for fusion patients.

Fusion, Artificial disc replacement (ADR), Cost
Volume 4 Issue 4