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Total shoulder arthroplasty is cost-effective compared with hemiarthroplasty: a real-world economic evaluation

Lapner P, Kumar S, van Katwyk S, Thavorn K. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2021; 103(16):1499-1509. Epub 2021 Apr 22. DOI:

Background — Although outcome studies generally demonstrate the superiority of a total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) over a hemiarthroplasty (HA), comparative cost-effectiveness has not been well studied. From a publicly funded health-care system’s perspective, this study compared the costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) in patients who underwent TSA with those in patients who underwent HA.

Methods — We conducted a cost-utility analysis using a Markov model to simulate the costs and QALYs for patients undergoing either TSA or HA over a lifetime horizon to account for costs and medically important events over the patient lifetime. Subgroup analyses by age groups (≤50 or >50 years) were performed. A series of sensitivity analyses were performed to assess robustness of study findings. The results were presented in 2019 U.S. dollars.

Results — TSA was dominant as it was less costly ($115,785 compared with $118,501) and more effective (10.21 compared with 8.47 QALYs) than HA over a lifetime horizon. Changes to health utility values after TSA and HA had the largest impact on the cost-effectiveness findings. At a willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold of $50,000 per QALY gained, HA was not found to be cost-effective. The probability that TSA was cost-effective was 100%.

Conclusions — Based on a WTP of $50,000 per QALY gained, from the perspective of Canada’s publicly funded health-care system, TSA was found to be cost-effective in all patients, including those ≤50 years of age, compared with HA.