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Cost-utility analysis modeling at 2-year follow-up for cervical disc arthroplasty versus anterior cervical discectomy and fusion: A single-center contribution to the randomized controlled trial

Daniel Warren, MD, Tate Andres, BS, Christian Hoelscher, BS, Pedro Ricart-Hoffiz, MD, John Bendo, MD, Jeffrey Goldstein, MD



Patients with cervical disc herniations resulting in radiculopathy or myelopathy from single level disease have traditionally been treated with Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF), yet Cervical Disc Arthroplasty (CDA) is a new alternative. Expert suggestion of reduced adjacent segment degeneration is a promising future result of CDA. A cost-utility analysis of these procedures with long-term follow-up has not been previously reported.


We reviewed single institution prospective data from a randomized trial comparing single-level ACDF and CDA in cervical disc disease. Both Medicare reimbursement schedules and actual hospital cost data for peri-operative care were separately reviewed and analyzed to estimate the cost of treatment of each patient. QALYs were calculated at 1 and 2 years based on NDI and SF-36 outcome scores, and incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) analysis was performed to determine relative cost-effectiveness.


Patients of both groups showed improvement in NDI and SF-36 outcome scores. Medicare reimbursement rates to the hospital were $11,747 and $10,015 for ACDF and CDA, respectively; these figures rose to $16,162 and $13,171 when including physician and anesthesiologist reimbursement. The estimated actual cost to the hospital of ACDF averaged $16,108, while CDA averaged $16,004 (p = 0.97); when including estimated physicians fees, total hospital costs came to $19,811 and $18,440, respectively. The cost/QALY analyses therefore varied widely with these discrepancies in cost values. The ICERs of ACDF vs CDA with Medicare reimbursements were $18,593 (NDI) and $19,940 (SF-36), while ICERs based on actual total hospital cost were $13,710 (NDI) and $9,140 (SF-36).


We confirm the efficacy of ACDF and CDA in the treatment of cervical disc disease, as our results suggest similar clinical outcomes at one and two year follow-up. The ICER suggests that the non-significant added benefit via ACDF comes at a reasonable cost, whether we use actual hospital costs or Medicare reimbursement values, though the actual ICER values vary widely depending upon the CUA modality used. Long term follow-up may illustrate a different profile for CDA due to reduced cost and greater long-term utility scores. It is crucial to note that financial modeling plays an important role in how economic treatment dominance is portrayed.

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, Cervical disc arthroplasty, Cost-utility analysis
Volume 7