How do the costs of physical therapy and arthroscopic partial meniscectomy compare? A trial-based economic evaluation of two treatments in patients with meniscal tears alongside the ESCAPE study

ESCAPE Research Group

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To examine whether physical therapy (PT) is cost-effective compared with arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM) in patients with a non-obstructive meniscal tear, we performed a full trial-based economic evaluation from a societal perspective. In a secondary analysis-this paper-we examined whether PT is non-inferior to APM.

METHODS: We recruited patients aged 45-70 years with a non-obstructive meniscal tear in nine Dutch hospitals. Resource use was measured using web-based questionnaires. Measures of effectiveness included knee function using the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Follow-up was 24 months. Uncertainty was assessed using bootstrapping techniques. The non-inferiority margins for societal costs, the IKDC and QALYs, were €670, 8 points and 0.057 points, respectively.

RESULTS: We randomly assigned 321 patients to PT (n=162) or APM (n=159). PT was associated with significantly lower costs after 24 months compared with APM (-€1803; 95% CI -€3008 to -€838). The probability of PT being cost-effective compared with APM was 1.00 at a willingness to pay of €0/unit of effect for the IKDC (knee function) and QALYs (quality of life) and decreased with increasing values of willingness to pay. The probability that PT is non-inferior to APM was 0.97 for all non-inferiority margins for the IKDC and 0.89 for QALYs.

CONCLUSIONS: The probability of PT being cost-effective compared with APM was relatively high at reasonable values of willingness to pay for the IKDC and QALYs. Also, PT had a relatively high probability of being non-inferior to APM for both outcomes. This warrants further deimplementation of APM in patients with non-obstructive meniscal tears.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBERS: NCT01850719 and NTR3908.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-546
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume54
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Keywords

  • arthroscopic partial meniscectomy
  • economic evaluation
  • knee
  • physical therapy
  • randomised controlled trial

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