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A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Isolated Meniscal Repair Versus Partial Meniscectomy for Red-Red Zone, Vertical Meniscal Tears in the Young Adult

      Purpose

      To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of treating isolated red-red zone, vertical meniscal tears with either isolated meniscal repair (IMR) or partial meniscectomy (PM) in the young adult using conservative modeling.

      Methods

      A decision-analytic Markov disease progression model with a 40-year horizon was created simulating outcomes after IMR or PM for an isolated meniscal tear. Event probabilities, costs, and utilities were used for the index procedures, and the development of osteoarthritis (OA) and subsequent need for knee arthroplasty were calculated or selected from the published literature. Differences in cost, difference in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and the incremental cost effect ratio were calculated to determine which index procedure is most cost effective.

      Results

      Total direct costs from PM were modeled at $38,648, and the total direct costs of IMR were $23,948, resulting in a projected cost savings of $14,700 with IMR. There was a modeled gain in QALYs of 17 for PM and 21 for IMR, resulting in an increase in 4 QALYs for the IMR treatment group. This results in an incremental cost effect ratio of $3,935 per QALY, favoring IMR as the dominant procedure.

      Conclusions

      Meniscal repair for isolated red-red zone, vertical meniscal tears was predicted to have lower direct costs and improve QALYs compared with partial meniscectomy over 40-year modeling, indicating isolated meniscal repair to be the cost-effective procedure in the treatment of an isolated meniscal tear in the young adult population.

      Level of Evidence

      Level 3: economic and decision analysis.
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      Linked Article

      • Editorial Commentary: Save the Meniscus? Show Me the Money!
        ArthroscopyVol. 35Issue 12
        • Preview
          The meniscus is known to play a vital role in the knee joint from, shock absorption to increased contact area to joint lubrication. Repairing a torn meniscus costs money, but it can be even more expensive to perform a partial meniscectomy over the long term. Moreover, meniscal repair may result in an improved quality of life for the patient. One must consider both quality of life and costs when addressing repairable meniscal tears in patients. Repairing a vertical meniscus tear in the red-red zone in a young adult is a cost-effective strategy.
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