The cost effectiveness of minimally invasive spine surgery in the treatment of adult degenerative scoliosis: a comparison of transpsoas and open techniques Academic Article uri icon

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  • INTRODUCTION: Surgical treatment improves quality of life in patients with adult degenerative scoliosis (ADS). However, open ADS surgeries are complex, large magnitude operations associated with a high rate of complications. The lateral transpsoas interbody fusion technique is a less invasive alternative to open ADS surgery, but less invasive techniques tend to be more expensive. The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost effectiveness of the transpsoas technique for patients with ADS over a 12-month time horizon from a public payer perspective. METHODS: A cost-effectiveness analysis was performed based on a consecutive case series of patients who underwent ADS surgeries between 2006 and 2012. Effectiveness was expressed as the difference in patient reported preoperative and 12-month postoperative health-related quality of life (HRQOL), which was measured in quality-adjusted life years. Health-care resource use was tabulated based on a clinical chart review on an item-by-item basis. Unit cost data were obtained from published provincial costs in Alberta, Canada. All costs were adjusted to 2015 Canadian dollars. The base case analysis included costs for the surgery, initial hospitalization, and treatment for complications over a 12-month follow-up period. The uncomplicated case analysis included costs for the surgery and initial hospitalization only. The joint uncertainty surrounding the cost and HRQOL differences was estimated using bootstrapping with 10,000 replicates. RESULTS: A total of 10 open technique and 12 transpsoas technique T11-pelvis fusions were included in the analysis. In the base case analysis, the transpsoas technique was less costly compared with the open technique, total cost of $83,513 (95% CI: $72,772-$94,253) versus $111,381 (95% CI: $36,340-$186,423), respectively (incremental cost $27,869), and was associated with 0.06 more quality-adjusted life years and/or patient. However, in the uncomplicated case, the open technique was less costly compared with the transpsoas technique ($47,795 [95% CI: $39,003-$56,586] vs $76,510 [95% CI: $72,273-$80,746]), respectively, with an incremental cost of $28,715. Based on the probabilistic analysis of 10,000 bootstrap iterations for the base case analysis, the transpsoas technique was more effective and less costly compared with the open technique 57% of time. One-way deterministic sensitivity analysis by adjusting bone-morphogenetic protein-2 dosage further improved cost effectiveness of the transpsoas technique by lowering overall costs. CONCLUSIONS: Transpsoas surgeries were associated with better outcomes in terms of HRQOL and lower costs over 1-year follow-up period compared with more invasive open technique. This study should be viewed as a pilot evaluation and should be replicated in a larger prospective multicenter controlled study.


  • Swamy, Ganesh
  • Lopatina, Elena
  • Thomas, Ken C
  • Marshall, Deborah A
  • Johal, Herman

publication date

  • February 2019