Considering the Cost of Cervical Fusion vs. Disc Replacement

Artificial Cervical Disc Surgery Cheaper Than Fusion

— Kevin McKeever
Posted: 2008-04-28 19:05:04

Note: This article was funded by ADR Manufacturer Medtronic, maker of the FDA Approved prestige Cervical Artificial Disc. The real cost of surgery is not just in the upfront expenses.

MONDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) — Treating cervical degenerative disc disease by surgically implanting an artificial vertebrae onto one’s spine may cost more initially than a traditional disc fusion operation, but it saves the patient almost $6,000 within two years, according to a new study.

The cost savings is primarily from the patient’s ability to return to work sooner after surgery and his or her need for fewer follow-up procedures.

The study — which was funded by Medtronic, the maker of the artificial cervical disc — was expected to be presented April 29 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, in Chicago.

More than 200,000 procedures are performed each year in the United States to relieve compression on the spinal cord or nerve roots. The most common involves spinal fusion surgery to unify two or more vertebrae in an effort to strengthen the spine and alleviate chronic neck pain.

A year ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the first, and to date only, artificial cervical disc in certain cervical spine surgeries. Medtronic’s PRESTIGE disc is a stainless-steel device with a ball-in-trough design, held in place with bone screws.

Researchers conducting a cost-benefit analysis on 541 patients who received either the artificial cervical disc (arthroplasty) or fusion surgery found arthroplasty saved the patient an average of $5,988 over two years following the surgery.

The cost of initial surgery, secondary procedures and medical devices per patient and the average initial procedure cost were both higher for arthroplasty patients than for fusion patients; however, the artificial disc recipients saved long-term, because they needed fewer secondary procedures and returned to work following surgery an average of 38 days sooner than fusion patients.

The return to work alone yielded a gain in work productivity of $6,368, the report said.

“From a societal perspective, the economic benefits associated with these outcomes may offset the increased device costs associated with arthroplasty therapy,” said study presenter Dr. Vincent C. Traynelis, of the University of Iowa, in a prepared statement.

Posted by on Aug 27th, 2008 and filed under Medical Tests, Neck Pain. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

3 Responses for “Considering the Cost of Cervical Fusion vs. Disc Replacement”

  1. Shelia says:

    It was recommended by my dr to have the prestige cervical disc replacement than to have the fusion. My question is how to you get the Insurance company to pay for it. The request was sent in by my dr and United Health Care denied the procedure!!!
    Shall I fight with the insurance co to have the replacement..from what I have read, the replacement is more effective than the fusion. Also, I have read that the mobility in the neck is better with this than a fusion. Any suggestions are appreciated, I can be reached at…..ty and god bless

  2. admin says:

    Prestige ST is a single level only ADR. The company behind the disc is Medtronic. I’m not sure the ST version will be along after their LP version becomes available. The problem with the ST is the design itself makes it unsuitable for multi-level placement. So what do you do if you have a problem at a level directly above or below the disc which was replaced later on? Medtronic is a GIANT in the industry, but this is the only disc they have that is currently FDA approved. I’d take a closer look at the Profisc-C, which is a Low Profile Disc that is also currently FDA Approved. Your current Doctor may not be trained, but if he isn’t then it’s time to find a new Doctor who is. Synthesis Spine makes the Profisc-C and has materials available to help you and/or your physician petition Insurance Companies for approval. Getting approval for ADR’s at this point in time is NOT easy, as the CPT codes are still investigational and pricing is all over the place.

  3. Barbara Cloward says:

    You could certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe in. Always go after your heart.

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