Thoracoscopic scoliosis surgery – a cheaper option? A cost analysis of 189 consecutive cases

Cook, Andrew J., Izatt, Maree T., Adam, Clayton J., Pearcy, Mark J., Labrom, Robert D., & Askin, Geoffrey N. (2014) Thoracoscopic scoliosis surgery – a cheaper option? A cost analysis of 189 consecutive cases. In Williams, Richard P. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 25th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Spine Society of Australia, Brisbane, Australia.


INTRODUCTION: Increasing health care costs, limited resources and increased demand makes cost effective and cost-efficient delivery of Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) management paramount. Rising implant costs in deformity correction surgery have prompted analysis of whether high implant densities are justified. The objective of this study was to analyse the costs of thoracoscopic scoliosis surgery, comparing initial learning curve costs with those of the established technique and to the costs involved in posterior instrumented fusion from the literature.

METHODS: 189 consecutive cases from April 2000 to July 2011 were assessed with a minimum of 2 years follow-up. Information was gathered from a prospective database covering perioperative factors, clinical and radiological outcomes, complications and patient reported outcomes. The patients were divided into three groups to allow comparison; 1. A learning curve cohort, 2. An intermediate cohort and 3. A third cohort of patients, using our established technique. Hospital finance records and implant manufacturer figures were corrected to 2013 costs. A literature review of AIS management costs and implant density in similar curve types was performed.

RESULTS: The mean pre-op Cobb angle was 53°(95%CI 0.4) and was corrected postop to mean 22.9°(CI 0.4). The overall complication rate was 20.6%, primarily in the first cohort, with a rate of 5.6% in the third cohort. The average total costs were $46,732, operating room costs of $10,301 (22.0%) and ICU costs of $4620 (9.8%). The mean number of screws placed was 7.1 (CI 0.04) with a single rod used for each case giving average implant costs of $14,004 (29.9%). Comparison of the three groups revealed higher implant costs as the technique evolved to that in use today, from $13,049 in Group 1 to $14577 in Group 3 (P<0.001). Conversely operating room costs reduced from $10,621 in Group 1 to $7573 (P<0.001) in Group 3. ICU stay was reduced from an average of 1.2 to 0 days. In-patient stay was significantly (P=0.006) lower in Groups 2 and 3 (5.4 days) than Group 1 (5.9 days) (i.e. a reduction in cost of approximately $6,140).

CONCLUSIONS: The evolution of our thoracoscopic anterior scoliosis correction has resulted in an increase in the number of levels fused and reduction in complication rate. Implant costs have risen as a result, however, there has been a concurrent decrease in those costs generated by operating room use, ICU and in-patient stay with increasing experience. Literature review of equivalent curve types treated posteriorly shows similar perioperative factors but higher implant density, 69-83% compared to the 50% in this study. Thoracoscopic Scoliosis surgery presents a low density, reliable, efficient and effective option for selected curves. A cost analysis of Thoracoscopic Scoliosis Surgery using financial records and a prospectively collected database of all patients since 2000, demonstrating a clear cost advantage compared to equivalent posterior instrumentation and fusion.

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ID Code: 73099
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, thoracoscopic scoliosis surgery, cost analysis, minimally invasive, keyhole surgery
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (090300) > Biomechanical Engineering (090302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Orthopaedics (110314)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The authors
Deposited On: 26 Jun 2014 21:58
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2017 05:29

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