V. N. E. Schuermans, A. Y. J. M. Smeets, A. F. M. Boselie, O. Zarrouk, S. M. M. Hermans, R. Droeghaag, I. Curfs, S. M. A. A. Evers, H. van Santbrink

February 2022, pp 1 - 13 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07137-7

First Online: 28 February 2022


No clear consensus exists on which anterior surgical technique is most cost-effective for treating cervical degenerative disk disease (CDDD). One of the most common treatment options is anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF). Anterior cervical discectomy with arthroplasty (ACDA) was developed in an effort to reduce the incidence of clinical adjacent segment pathology and associated additional surgeries by preserving motion. This systematic review aims to evaluate the evidence regarding the cost-effectiveness of anterior surgical decompression techniques used to treat radiculopathy and/or myelopathy caused by CDDD.


The search was conducted in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, CINAHL, EconLit, NHS-EED and the Cochrane Library. Studies were included if healthcare costs and utility or effectivity measurements were mentioned.


A total of 23 studies were included out of the 1327 identified studies. In 9 of the 13 studies directly comparing ACDA and ACDF, ACDA was the most cost-effective technique, with an incremental cost effectiveness ratio ranging from $2.900/QALY to $98.475/QALY. There was great heterogeneity between the costs of due to different in- and exclusion criteria of costs and charges, cost perspective, baseline characteristics, and calculation methods. The methodological quality of the included studies was moderate.


The majority of studies report ACDA to be a more cost-effective technique in comparison with ACDF. The lack of uniform literature impedes any solid conclusions to be drawn. There is a need for high-quality cost-effectiveness research and uniformity in the conduct, design and reporting of economic evaluations concerning the treatment of CDDD.

Trial registration

PROSPERO Registration: CRD42020207553 (04.10.2020).

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