Cost-effectiveness of Operative versus Nonoperative Treatment of Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis an Intent-to-treat Analysis at 5-year Follow-up

Leah Y. Carreon, Steven D. Glassman, Jon Lurie, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Michael P. Kelly, Christine R. Baldus, Kelly R. Bratcher, Charles H. Crawford, Elizabeth L. Yanik, Keith H. Bridwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Study Design.Secondary analysis using data from the NIH-sponsored study on adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) that included randomized and observational arms.Objective.The aim of this study was to perform an intent-to-treat cost-effectiveness study comparing operative (Op) versus nonoperative (NonOp) care for ASLS.Summary of Background Data.The appropriate treatment approach for ASLS continues to be ill-defined. NonOp care has not been shown to improve outcomes. Surgical treatment has been shown to improve outcomes, but is costly with high revision rates.Methods.Patients with at least 5-year follow-up data were included. Data collected every 3 months included use of NonOp modalities, medications, and employment status. Costs for index and revision surgeries and NonOp modalities were determined using Medicare Allowable rates. Medication costs were determined using the RedBook and indirect costs were calculated based on reported employment status and income. Qualityadjusted life year (QALY) was determined using the SF6D.Results.There were 81 of 95 cases in the Op and 81 of 95 in the NonOp group with complete 5-year follow-up data. Not all patients were eligible 5-year follow-up at the time of the analysis. All patients in the Op and 24 (30%) in the NonOp group had surgery by 5 years. At 5 years, the cumulative cost for Op was $96,000 with a QALY gain of 2.44 and for NonOp the cumulative cost was $49,546 with a QALY gain of 0.75 with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $27,480 per QALY gain.Conclusion.In an intent-to-treat analysis, neither treatment was dominant, as the greater gains in QALY in the surgery group come at a greater cost. The ICER for Op compared to NonOp treatment was above the threshold generally considered cost-effective in the first 3 years of the study but improved over time and was highly cost-effective at 4 and 5 years.Level of Evidence: 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1499-1506
Number of pages8
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • adult lumbar scoliosis
  • cost-effectiveness
  • decision analysis
  • nonoperative treatments
  • spine surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Cost-effectiveness of Operative versus Nonoperative Treatment of Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis an Intent-to-treat Analysis at 5-year Follow-up'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this