Direct healthcare costs of spinal disorders in Brazil

Rodrigo Luiz Carregaro, Everton Nunes da Silva, Maurits van Tulder

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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OBJECTIVES: To estimate the direct healthcare costs of spinal disorders in Brazil over 2016.

METHODS: This is a prevalence-based cost-of-illness study with a top-down approach from the perspective of the public healthcare system. All international Classification of Diseases codes related to spinal disorders were included. The following costs were obtained: (1) hospitalization; medical professional service costs; intensive care unit costs; companion daily stay; (2) outpatient (services/procedures). Data were analyzed descriptively and costs presented in US$.

RESULTS: The healthcare system spent US$ 71.4 million, and inpatient care represented 58%. The number of inpatient days was 250,426, and there were 36,654 hospital admissions (dorsalgia and disk disorders representing 70% of the costs). More than 114,000 magnetic resonance scans and 107,000 computerized tomography scans were adopted. Men had more inpatient days (138,215) than women (112,211). Overall, the inpatient/outpatient cost ratio was twice as high for men.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated that the direct costs of spinal disorders in Brazil in 2016 were considerable. We also found a substantial amount of financial resources spent on diagnostic imaging. This is relevant as the routine use of diagnostic imaging for back pain is discouraged in international guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-974
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
Early online date15 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Ambulatory care
  • Back pain
  • Cost of illness
  • Costs and cost analysis
  • Hospital costs


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