The Economic Impact of Acetabular Labral Tears: A Cost-effectiveness Analysis Comparing Hip Arthroscopic Surgery and Structured Rehabilitation Alone in Patients Without Osteoarthritis.


Background: Hip arthroscopic surgery has emerged as a successful procedure to manage acetabular labral tears and concurrent hip injuries, which if left untreated, may contribute to hip osteoarthritis (OA). Therefore, it is essential to analyze the economic impact of this treatment option.

Purpose: To investigate the cost-effectiveness of hip arthroscopic surgery versus structured rehabilitation alone for acetabular labral tears, to examine the effects of age on cost-effectiveness, and to estimate the rate of symptomatic OA and total hip arthroplasty (THA) in both treatment arms over a lifetime horizon.

Study design: Economic and decision analysis; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: A cost-effectiveness analysis of hip arthroscopic surgery compared with structured rehabilitation for symptomatic labral tears was performed using a Markov decision model constructed over a lifetime horizon. It was assumed that patients did not have OA. Direct costs (in 2014 United States dollars), utilities of health states (in quality-adjusted life years [QALYs] gained), and probabilities of transitioning between health states were estimated from a comprehensive literature review. Costs were estimated using national averages of Medicare reimbursements, adjusted for all payers in the United States from a societal perspective. Utilities were estimated from the Harris Hip Score. Cost-effectiveness was assessed using the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER). One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to determine the effect of uncertainty on the model outcomes.

Results: For a cohort representative of patients undergoing hip arthroscopic surgery at our facility, arthroscopic surgery was more costly (additional $2653) but generated more utility (additional 3.94 QALYs) compared with rehabilitation over a lifetime. The mean ICER was $754/QALY, well below the conventional willingness to pay of $50,000/QALY. Arthroscopic surgery was cost-effective for 94.5% of patients. Although arthroscopic surgery decreased in cost-effectiveness with increasing age, arthroscopic surgery remained more cost-effective than rehabilitation for patients in the second to seventh decades of life. The lifetime incidence of symptomatic hip OA was over twice as high for patients treated with rehabilitation compared with arthroscopic surgery. The preferred treatment was sensitive to the utility after successful hip arthroscopic surgery, although the utility at which arthroscopic surgery becomes less cost-effective than rehabilitation is far below our best estimate. For older patients, the lifetime cost of arthroscopic surgery was greater, while the lifetime utility of arthroscopic surgery was less, approaching that of the rehabilitation arm.

Conclusion: Hip arthroscopic surgery is more cost-effective and results in a considerably lower incidence of symptomatic OA than structured rehabilitation alone in treating symptomatic labral tears of patients in the second to seventh decades of life without pre-existing OA.

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