, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 1437-1445
Date: 08 Aug 2012

Two-year cost comparison of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures: are initial surgical costs misleading?

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Abstract

Summary

The costs for treating kypho- and vertebroplasty patients were evaluated at up to 2 years postsurgery. There were no significant differences in adjusted costs in the first 9 months postsurgery, but kyphoplasty patients were associated with significantly lower adjusted treatment costs by 6.8–7.9 % in the remaining periods through 2 years postsurgery.

Introduction

Vertebral augmentation has been shown to be safe and effective for treating vertebral compression fractures. Comparative cost studies of initial treatment costs for kypho- and vertebroplasty have been mixed. The purpose of our study was to compare the costs for treating kypho- and vertebroplasty patients at up to 2 years postsurgery.

Methods

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty patients diagnosed with pathologic or closed lumbar/thoracic vertebral fractures were identified from the 5 % sample of the Medicare dataset (2006–2009). The final study cohort with at least 2 years follow-up comprised of 1,609 vertebroplasty and 2,878 kyphoplasty patients. The cumulative treatment costs (adjusted to June 2011 US$) were determined from the payer perspective. Differences in costs and length of stay were assessed by generalized linear mixed model regression, adjusting for covariates.

Results

The average adjusted costs for vertebroplasty patients within the first quarter and the first 2 years postsurgery were $14,585 [95 % confidence interval (CI), $14,109–15,078] and $44,496 (95 % CI, $42,763–46,299), respectively. The corresponding average adjusted costs for kyphoplasty patients were $15,117 (95 % CI, $14,752–15,491) and $41,339 (95 % CI, $40,154–42,560). There were no significant differences in adjusted costs in the first 9 months postsurgery, but kyphoplasty patients were associated with significantly lower adjusted treatment costs by 6.8–7.9 % in the remaining periods through 2 years postsurgery.

Conclusion

Our present study addresses some of the limitations in previous comparative cost studies of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. The higher adjusted costs for vertebroplasty patients than kyphoplasty patients by 1 year following the surgery reflect greater utilization of medical resources.

IRB approval: N/A; this study utilized a publicly available administrative claims database.