Scoliosis surgery costs up 133% in 10 years: 8 trends to know

Written by Laura Dyrda | September 15, 2014 | Print  |

A study published in the Sept. 15 issue of Spine examines the hospital cost increase in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis fusion patients.

The researchers examined the International Classification Diseases, Ninth Revision billing codes for data. There were 29,594 AIS fusions from the National Inpatient Service database from 2001 to 2011 used in the study. The researchers also queried their hospital’s billing system for average charges from 40 cases to identify specific charge drivers.


Here are eight trends from the study:


1. Adult spinal fusion for rate increased 64 percent from 2001 to 2011, but ASI fusions remained constant.


2. Anterior thoracic fusion rate was down 80 percent over the 10 year period studied.


3. The average hospital cost for AIS spinal fusions jumped around $73,000 throughout the decade. The procedure cost $72,780 in 2001 and climbed to $155,278 by 2011. This is a 113 percent increase overall, or 11.3 percent increase annually.


4. Adult spinal fusion charges were up 13.4 percent annually. However, charges for nonspine conditions increased only 4.5 percent to 6 percent annually.


5. Spinal implant charges at the single institution examined increased 27 percent annually while surgeon charges decreased 0.5 percent over those 10 years.


6. All other charges beyond spinal implant and surgeon charges increased 5.2 percent annually.


7. Surgeons used more pedicle screws over time and the number of implants per surgery and per level fused grew.


8. Implant charges also made a bigger impact on the hospital bill over time. The implants were 28 percent of the total hospital bill in 2003 and rose to 53 percent of the total hospital bill in 2012.


More articles on spine surgery:

Dr. Patrick Sugrue joins Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital

National Scoliosis Foundation names official Texas chapter

The BMP cancer risk for cervical spinal fusion: 5 new findings



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