Cost-minimization Analysis of the Management of Acute Achilles Tendon Rupture

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Abstract

Background:

Outcomes of nonsurgical management of acute Achilles tendon rupture have been demonstrated to be noninferior to those of surgical management. We performed a cost-minimization analysis of surgical and nonsurgical management of acute Achilles tendon rupture.

Methods:

We used a claims database to identify patients who underwent surgical (n = 1,979) and nonsurgical (n = 3,065) management of acute Achilles tendon rupture and compared overall costs of treatment (surgical procedure, follow-up care, physical therapy, and management of complications). Complication rates were also calculated. Patients were followed for 1 year after injury.

Results:

Average treatment costs in the year after initial diagnosis were higher for patients who underwent initial surgical treatment than for patients who underwent nonsurgical treatment ($4,292 for surgical treatment versus $2,432 for nonsurgical treatment; P < 0.001). However, surgical treatment required fewer office visits (4.52 versus 10.98; P < 0.001) and less spending on physical therapy ($595 versus $928; P < 0.001). Rates of rerupture requiring subsequent treatment (2.1% versus 2.4%; P = 0.34) and additional costs ($2,950 versus $2,515; P = 0.34) were not significantly different regardless whether initial treatment was surgical or nonsurgical. In both cohorts, management of complications contributed to approximately 5% of the total cost.

Conclusion:

From the payer’s perspective, the overall costs of nonsurgical management of acute Achilles tendon rupture were significantly lower than the overall costs of surgical management.

Level of Evidence:

III, Economic Decision Analysis

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