TITLE

An Economic Analysis of the Timing of Microsurgical Reconstruction in Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy

AUTHOR(S)
Brauer, Carmen A.; Waters, Peter M.
PUB. DATE
May 2007
SOURCE
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume;May2007, Vol. 89-A Issue 5, p970
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Background: The role and timing of microsurgical reconstruction of the brachial plexus in infants who have no signs of biceps recovery within the first six months of life is controversial. The purpose of the present study was to create an economic model to compare microsurgical treatment at three as opposed to six months in patients with brachial plexus birth palsy who had no return of biceps function at three months. Methods: A cost-minimization study was performed with use of a decision-analysis model. Natural history, success, and tendon transfer and osteotomy rates were estimated from the literature. Costs were estimated from a single center. Results: The literature on patients without nerve root avulsion supports an 80% rate of biceps recovery between three and six months of age. On the basis of this value, microsurgical intervention at three months was more expensive than microsurgical intervention at six months. Microsurgical intervention at three months cost more than twice as much as intervention at six months. Sensitivity analysis revealed that when the rate of biceps recovery was 40% and surgery at three months was three times more successful than surgery at six months, then both treatments had equal costs. Conclusions: It is unlikely that microsurgical intervention at three months for the treatment of rupture injuries of the brachial plexus will be successful enough to produce overall cost savings. While our results should not be used to dictate policy decisions as they are not definitive and remain contingent on future studies, it is still reasonable to consider economic factors and quality-of-life outcomes in brachial plexus birth palsy treatment strategies and future research.
ACCESSION #
25019641

 

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