New Study Measures the Value of ACL Reconstruction Surgery

by / Thursday, 12 December 2013 / Published in Knee Surgery

There are four major ligaments located within the knee including two cruciate ligaments (the AKnee Specialist PhoenixCL and PCL). Acting like strong ropes which actively hold the bones together thus keeping the knee stable, these ligaments can be injured in the following ways:

  • Quickly changing directions
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Slowing down when running
  • An incorrect landing when jumping
  • A collision or direct contact (being tackled in football)

Treatment methods for tears of the anterior cruciate ligament with a Phoenix orthopedic surgeon tend to vary according to a patient’s individual needs. Any torn ACL will not heal without needing surgery.

Individuals who are physically active or involved in sports activities will likely require surgery eventually. However, older, less active people may be able to maintain a quieter kind of lifestyle without the requirement for any type of surgical intervention. Bracing may be all that is necessary, however, that determination is best made in conjunction with your Scottsdale orthopedic surgeon.

Benefits and Costs of ACL Treatment

Orthopedic Surgeon ScottsdaleUnderstanding the various benefits and costs of ACL tear treatment options can assist patients as well as their families in choosing the right course of action to hopefully return to an active lifestyle, save money, and reduce any long term effects. More than 200,000 cases of ACL tears occur each year within the United States making them one of the most common knee injuries, especially in active young people.

ACL injuries can range anywhere from stretched ligaments, partial tears, to complete ligament ruptures. In addition, treatment options range from structured recovery with rehabilitation to reconstructive surgery followed by a rehabilitation period.

ACL Reconstruction Surgery is Cost Effective

In the case of an active young patient, surgical repair of either a partial or complete tear is typically the best option since long term success rates are anywhere from 82 to 95 percent. Also, as far as costs are concerned, ACL reconstruction surgery is considered to be a cost effective alternative for both the patient and society as a whole. This fact is supported in a recently published study in the JourKnee Surgeon Scottsdalenal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS). Even though reconstruction surgery for anterior cruciate ligaments has been proven both beneficial to patients as well as cost effective, other should not be ruled out.

Depending on a patient’s age, level of activity, and the severity of their injury, rehabilitation can also be successful. As a result of this particular study, patients now have the ability to compare both indirect and direct costs of rehabilitation and reconstruction surgery. Patients will have a better understanding of the overall ACL reconstruction surgery benefits relative to the economic and societal savings.

This research study was conducted by health economists utilizing a research tool known as a Markov model. They estimated the value to patients of ACL reconstruction surgery by comparing indirect and direct costs between non-surgical and surgical treatment methods. In addition, quality of life measures and costs were both incorporated into this model to estimate surgical impact on a patient’s quality adjusted years and their lifetime costs.

Study results showed that reconstructive surgery is the preferred, most cost effective treatment strategy for ACL tears actually yielding the greatest societal cost savings when compared with rehabilitation. ACL reconstructive techniques costs $4,000 less for short term outcomes and more than $50,000 less in lifetime savings on a per patient basis when compared with non-surgical treatment options.

Final Thoughts

Scottsdale Orthopedic SurgeonsHow will the results of this research be utilized in the future? What is the overall impact on health care costs? This is actually the first study to show the importance of a societal perspective in terms of costs and benefits of ACL repairs, as well as policies that will affect surgical access. It provides an assessment of the value of ACL procedures and health services plus a valuable perspective when taking into consideration the overall benefits and costs of ACL reconstructions.

The top orthopedic surgeon in Phoenix and Scottsdale is Dr. Adam Farber. Dr. Farber is Board Certified and Fellowship Trained in Sports Medicine and has performed hundreds of successful knee ligament reconstructions. Most insurance is accepted at the practice.