Spinal fusion vs. disc replacement: Which costs more? 5 key notes

Written by Laura Dyrda | April 17, 2015 | Print  |

A new study published in Spine compares cervical disc replacement cots with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.

The study authors conducted a retrospective, matched cohort analysis of outcomes for patients 18 years old to 60 years old who underwent surgery for single-level cervical disc disease. The patients were enrolled in a Blue Cross Plan contributing data to a claims database.

 

The data was gathered from 2008 through the end of 2009. There were 6,635 fusion patients and 327 disc replacement patients. Here are five key findings from the report:

 

1. The reoperation rate was higher for the fusion group after 36 months than the disc replacement group. ACDF patients had 10.5 percent reoperation rate, compared to 5.7 percent for the disc replacement group.

 

2. Costs for the index surgery were significantly lower in the disc replacement group.

 

3. The 90-day global window costs were also significantly lower for disc replacement. Bundled payments are often based on a 90-day coverage period after surgery.

 

4. The total insurer payments for the disc replacement patients at the final follow-up were significantly lower than the fusion patients. The insurers paid $34,979 for the disc replacement patients, compared to $39,820 for the fusion patients.

 

5. The researchers concluded, "CDA was effective in reducing the monthly cost of care compared with ACDF."

 

More articles on spine surgery:
Postoperative infections after cervical fusion: 5 key notes on quality & cost
The Christ Hospital's $280M spine & joint center is almost complete
Does this new spinal locator reduce radiation exposure? 5 things to know

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