Cost-effectiveness of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: A preliminary comparison of single-bundle and double-bundle techniques

E. Scott Paxton, Steven M. Kymes, Robert H. Brophy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: There has been growing interest in anatomical reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), including the use of double-bundle (DB) reconstruction techniques. Hypothesis: The DB technique will not be cost-effective when compared with single-bundle (SB) reconstruction. Study Design: Economic and decision analysis; Level of evidence, 1. Methods: A decision-analysis model with input values derived from the literature was used to estimate the cost-effectiveness of DB ACL reconstruction compared with SB ACL reconstruction. Effectiveness was based on the revision rate and the postoperative International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) score. Results: Sixty-four percent of DB knees result in an IKDC score of A, compared with 54% of SB knees. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of a DB reconstruction compared with an SB reconstruction was $6416 per quality adjusted life year in the baseline scenario and $64 371 per quality adjusted life year in the alternate scenario. The model is very sensitive to the proportions of IKDC A outcomes. The model is also sensitive to the utility values assigned to IKDC A and B outcomes and is less sensitive to the marginal cost of a DB reconstruction. Conclusion: This preliminary analysis based on published clinical results to date shows DB ACL reconstruction may be cost-effective, despite increased upfront cost. More research is needed to confirm whether there is any difference in the distribution of IKDC outcomes between the 2 techniques. Perhaps more importantly, the lack of any other demonstrated clinical benefit from the DB technique questions the clinical relevance of this difference in IKDC scores. Clinical Relevance: Revision data and longer term outcomes after DB reconstruction and more reliable clinical utility data are needed to definitively compare the cost-effectiveness of DB and SB ACL reconstruction. Studies of ACL reconstruction and other sports medicine procedures should report the distribution of outcomes data to facilitate future analyses of clinical effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2417-2425
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • cost-effectiveness
  • cost-utility
  • double bundle


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