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Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Nonoperative Management Versus Early Drilling for Stable Osteochondritis Dissecans Lesions of the Knee in Skeletally Immature Patients

Published:November 30, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arthro.2020.09.020

      Purpose

      To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a trial of nonoperative management versus early drilling in the treatment of skeletally immature patients with stable osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the knee.

      Methods

      A decision tree model was used to compare the cost-effectiveness of a trial of nonoperative management versus early drilling (within 6 weeks of the first office visit) from payer and societal perspectives over a 3-year time horizon. Relevant transition probabilities, costs (in 2019 US dollars based on Medicare reimbursement), health state utilities, and times to healing were derived from the literature. The principal outcome measure was the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER). One- and 2-way sensitivity analyses were performed on pertinent model parameters to validate the robustness of the base-case results using a conservative willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold of $50,000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). The Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards checklist for reporting economic evaluations was used.

      Results

      In the base-case analysis from a payer perspective, early drilling was more effective (2.51 versus 2.27 QALYs), more costly ($4,655 versus $3,212), and overall more cost-effective (ICER $5,839/QALY) relative to nonoperative management. In the base-case analysis from a societal perspective, early drilling dominated nonoperative management owing to its increased effectiveness (2.51 versus 2.27 QALYs) and decreased cost ($13,098 versus $18,149). These results were stable across broad ranges on sensitivity analysis. Based on 1-way threshold analyses from a payer perspective, early drilling remained cost-effective as long it cost less than $19,840, the disutility of surgery was greater than –0.40, or the probability of successful early drilling was greater than 0.62.

      Conclusions

      Although the traditional approach to stable OCD lesions of the knee in skeletally immature patients has been a trial of nonoperative management, our data suggest that early drilling may be cost-effective from both payer and societal perspectives.

      Level of Evidence

      III, economic and decision analysis.
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