Health Care Costs Following Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion or Cervical Disc Arthroplasty

Spine 2024;49:530–535

Study Design. Observational cohort study.

Objective. To describe the postoperative costs associated with both anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) in the two-year period following surgery.

Summary of Background Data. CDA has become an increasingly common alternative to ACDF for the treatment of cervical disc disorders. Although a number of studies have compared clinical outcomes between both procedures, much less is known about the postoperative economic burden of each procedure.

Materials and Methods. By analyzing a commercial insurance claims database (Marketscan, Merative), patients who underwent one-level or two-level ACDF and CDA procedures between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017 were identified and included in the study. The primary outcome was the cost of payments for postoperative management in the two-year period following ACDF or CDA. Identified postoperative interventions included in the study were: (i) physical therapy, (ii) pain medication, (iii) injections, (iv) psychological treatment, and (iv) subsequent spine surgeries.

Results. Totally, 2304 patients (age: 49.0 ± 9.4 yr; male, 50.1%) were included in the study. In all, 1723 (74.8%) patients underwent ACDF, while 581 (25.2%) underwent CDA. The cost of surgery was similar between both groups (ACDF: $26,819 ± 23,449; CDA: $25,954 ± 20,620; P = 0.429). Thirty-day, 90-day, and two-year global costs were all lower for patients who underwent CDA compared with ACDF ($31,024 vs. $34,411, $33,064 vs. $37,517, and $55,723 vs. $68,113, respectively).

Conclusion. Lower two-year health care costs were found for patients undergoing CDA compared with ACDF. Further work is necessary to determine the drivers of these findings and the associated longer-term outcomes.

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