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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2012 Aug 1;94(15):1369-77. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.J.01876.

The cost-effectiveness of single-row compared with double-row arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.

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The Steadman Hawkins Clinic-Denver, CO 80124, USA.



Interest in double-row techniques for arthroscopic rotator cuff repair has increased over the last several years, presumably because of a combination of literature demonstrating superior biomechanical characteristics and recent improvements in instrumentation and technique. As a result of the increasing focus on value-based health-care delivery, orthopaedic surgeons must understand the cost implications of this practice. The purpose of this study was to examine the cost-effectiveness of double-row arthroscopic rotator cuff repair compared with traditional single-row repair.


A decision-analytic model was constructed to assess the cost-effectiveness of double-row arthroscopic rotator cuff repair compared with single-row repair on the basis of the cost per quality-adjusted life year gained. Two cohorts of patients (one with a tear of <3 cm and the other with a tear of ≥3 cm) were evaluated. Probabilities for retear and persistent symptoms, health utilities for the particular health states, and the direct costs for rotator cuff repair were derived from the orthopaedic literature and institutional data.


The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for double-row compared with single-row arthroscopic rotator cuff repair was $571,500 for rotator cuff tears of <3 cm and $460,200 for rotator cuff tears of ≥3 cm. The rate of radiographic or symptomatic retear alone did not influence cost-effectiveness results. If the increase in the cost of double-row repair was less than $287 for small or moderate tears and less than $352 for large or massive tears compared with the cost of single-row repair, then double-row repair would represent a cost-effective surgical alternative.


On the basis of currently available data, double-row rotator cuff repair is not cost-effective for any size rotator cuff tears. However, variability in the values for costs and probability of retear can have a profound effect on the results of the model and may create an environment in which double-row repair becomes the more cost-effective surgical option. The identification of the threshold values in this study may help surgeons to determine the most cost-effective treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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