Societal and Economic Effect of Meniscus Scaffold Procedures for Irreparable Meniscus Injuries

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Abstract

Background:

Meniscus scaffolds are currently evaluated clinically for their efficacy in preventing the development of osteoarthritis as well as for their efficacy in treating patients with chronic symptoms. Procedural costs, therapeutic consequences, clinical efficacy, and future events should all be considered to maximize the monetary value of this intervention.

Purpose:

To examine the socioeconomic effect of treating patients with irreparable medial meniscus injuries with a meniscus scaffold.

Study Design:

Economic and decision analysis; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods:

Two Markov simulation models for patients with an irreparable medial meniscus injury were developed. Model 1 was used to investigate the lifetime cost-effectiveness of a meniscus scaffold compared with standard partial meniscectomy by the possibility of preventing the development of osteoarthritis. Model 2 was used to investigate the short-term (5-year) cost-effectiveness of a meniscus scaffold compared with standard partial meniscectomy by alleviating clinical symptoms, specifically in chronic patients with previous meniscus surgery. For both models, probabilistic Monte Carlo simulations were applied. Treatment effectiveness was expressed as quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), while costs (estimated in euros) were assessed from a societal perspective. We assumed €20,000 as a reference value for the willingness to pay per QALY. Next, comprehensive sensitivity analyses were performed to identify the most influential variables on the cost-effectiveness of meniscus scaffolds.

Results:

Model 1 demonstrated an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of a meniscus scaffold treatment of €54,463 per QALY (€5991/0.112). A threshold analysis demonstrated that a meniscus scaffold should offer a relative risk reduction of at least 0.34 to become cost-effective, assuming a willingness to pay of €20,000. Decreasing the costs of the meniscus scaffold procedure by 33% (€10,160 instead of €15,233; an absolute change of €5073) resulted in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of €7876 per QALY. Model 2 demonstrated an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of a meniscus scaffold treatment of €297,727 per QALY (€9825/0.033). On the basis of the current efficacy data, a meniscus scaffold provides a relative risk reduction of “limited benefit” postoperatively of 0.37 compared with standard treatment. A threshold analysis revealed that assuming a willingness to pay of €20,000, a meniscus scaffold would not be cost-effective within a period of 5 years. Most influential variables on the cost-effectiveness of meniscus scaffolds were the cost of the scaffold procedure, cost associated with osteoarthritis, and quality of life before and after the scaffold procedure.

Conclusion:

Results of the current health technology assessment emphasize that the monetary value of meniscus scaffold procedures is very much dependent on a number of influential variables. Therefore, before implementing the technology in the health care system, it is important to critically assess these variables in a relevant context. The models can be improved as additional clinical data regarding the efficacy of the meniscus scaffold become available.

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