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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2012 Oct;21(10):1278-88. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2011.10.010. Epub 2012 Jan 21.

The cost-effectiveness of reverse total shoulder arthroplasty compared with hemiarthroplasty for rotator cuff tear arthropathy.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.



Hemiarthroplasty (humeral head replacement [HHR]) and reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) are surgical options for cuff tear arthropathy (CTA). RSA may provide better pain relief and functional outcomes, but it costs more and may have a higher complication rate. The goal of this study was to compare the cost-effectiveness of these two treatments and to use sensitivity analysis to determine the drivers of the model.


A Markov decision model was used. Outcome and complication probabilities were obtained from existing literature. Costs were based on average Medicare reimbursement and implant prices. Utilities were derived from responses to health state surveys (Short Form 6D) from 31 patients at one institution who underwent RSA or HHR for CTA. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were used to compare treatments.


Our model showed RSA could be a cost-effective strategy for treatment of CTA, using $100,000 per quality-adjusted life-year gained as a cutoff and the Short Form 6D for utilities. The model was extremely sensitive to the complication rate and the utility of each procedure and was also sensitive to implant price, with an implant price <$13,000 making RSA cost-effective.


Currently available cost and outcome data show that RSA could be a cost-effective alternative to HHR for CTA. The cost-effectiveness of RSA depends most on the health utility gained from the operation, the utility lost due to complications from the operation, and the cost of the implant. Dropping the implant price to <$7,000 increases cost-effectiveness to <$50,000 per quality-adjusted life-year gained. Further head-to-head studies evaluating the clinical and quality of life outcomes of these two treatments are warranted.

Copyright © 2012 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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