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Neurosurg Focus. 2014 Jun;36(6):E4. doi: 10.3171/2014.4.FOCUS1449.

Cost-effectiveness analysis in minimally invasive spine surgery.

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Departments of Neurosurgery and.



Medical care has been evolving with the increased influence of a value-based health care system. As a result, more emphasis is being placed on ensuring cost-effectiveness and utility in the services provided to patients. This study looks at this development in respect to minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) costs.


A literature review using PubMed, the Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) Registry, and the National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) was performed. Papers were included in the study if they reported costs associated with minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). If there was no mention of cost, CEA, cost-utility analysis (CUA), quality-adjusted life year (QALY), quality, or outcomes mentioned, then the article was excluded.


Fourteen studies reporting costs associated with MISS in 12,425 patients (3675 undergoing minimally invasive procedures and 8750 undergoing open procedures) were identified through PubMed, the CEA Registry, and NHS EED. The percent cost difference between minimally invasive and open approaches ranged from 2.54% to 33.68%-all indicating cost saving with a minimally invasive surgical approach. Average length of stay (LOS) for minimally invasive surgery ranged from 0.93 days to 5.1 days compared with 1.53 days to 12 days for an open approach. All studies reporting EBL reported lower volume loss in an MISS approach (range 10-392.5 ml) than in an open approach (range 55-535.5 ml).


There are currently an insufficient number of studies published reporting the costs of MISS. Of the studies published, none have followed a standardized method of reporting and analyzing cost data. Preliminary findings analyzing the 14 studies showed both cost saving and better outcomes in MISS compared with an open approach. However, more Level I CEA/CUA studies including cost/QALY evaluations with specifics of the techniques utilized need to be reported in a standardized manner to make more accurate conclusions on the cost effectiveness of minimally invasive spine surgery.


CEA = cost-effectiveness analysis; CUA = cost-utility analysis; EBL = estimated blood loss; ICER = incremental cost-effectiveness ratio; LOS = length of stay; MISS = minimally invasive spine surgery; NHS EED = National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database; PLIF = posterior lumbar interbody fusion; QALY = quality-adjusted life year; RCT = randomized controlled trial; SSI = surgical site infection; TLIF = transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion; cost analysis; cost-effectiveness analysis; cost-utility analysis; minimally invasive surgery; spine

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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