Peter Fritzell, Svante Berg, Fredrik Borgström, Tycho Tullberg, Hans Tropp

July 2011, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 1001 - 1011 Health Technology Assessment and Transfer Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-010-1607-3

First Online: 05 November 2010

This randomized controlled health economic study assesses the cost-effectiveness of the concept of total disc replacement (TDR) (Charité/Prodisc/Maverick) when compared with the concept of instrumented lumbar fusion (FUS) [posterior lumbar fusion (PLF) /posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF)]. Social and healthcare perspectives after 2 years are reported. In all, 152 patients were randomized to either TDR (n = 80) or lumbar FUS (n = 72). Cost to society (total mean cost/patient, Swedish kronor = SEK, standard deviation) for TDR was SEK 599,560 (400,272), and for lumbar FUS SEK 685,919 (422,903) (ns). The difference was not significant: SEK 86,359 (−45,605 to 214,332). TDR was significantly less costly from a healthcare perspective, SEK 22,996 (1,202 to 43,055). Number of days on sick leave among those who returned to work was 185 (146) in the TDR group, and 252 (189) in the FUS group (ns). Using EQ-5D, the total gain in quality adjusted life years (QALYs) over 2 years was 0.41 units for TDR and 0.40 units for FUS (ns). Based on EQ-5D, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of using TDR instead of FUS was difficult to analyze due to the “non-difference” in treatment outcome, which is why cost/QALY was not meaningful to define. Using cost-effectiveness probabilistic analysis, the net benefit (with CI) was found to be SEK 91,359 (−73,643 to 249,114) (ns). We used the currency of 2006 where 1 EURO = 9.26 SEK and 1 USD = 7.38 SEK. It was not possible to state whether TDR or FUS is more cost-effective after 2 years. Since disc replacement and lumbar fusion are based on different conceptual approaches, it is important to follow these results over time.

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