Editor's Choice| Volume 47, ISSUE 5, P445-453, May 2022

Cost-Utility Analysis of Thumb Carpometacarpal Resection Arthroplasty: A Health Economic Study Using Real-World Data

Published:March 25, 2022DOI:


      Knowledge about the costs and benefits of hand surgical interventions is important for surgeons, payers, and policy makers. Little is known about the cost-effectiveness of surgery for thumb carpometacarpal osteoarthritis. The objective of this study was to examine patients’ quality of life and economic costs, with focus on the cost-utility ratio 1 year after surgery for thumb carpometacarpal osteoarthritis compared with that for continued nonsurgical management.


      Patients with thumb carpometacarpal osteoarthritis indicated for resection arthroplasty were included in a prospective study. The quality of life (using European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions-5 Level), direct medical costs, and productivity losses were assessed up to 1 year after surgery. Baseline data at recruitment and costs sustained over 1 year before surgery served as a proxy for nonsurgical management. The total costs to gain 1 extra quality-adjusted life year and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio were calculated from a health care system and a societal perspective.


      The mean European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions-5 Level value for 151 included patients improved significantly from 0.69 to 0.88 (after surgery). The productivity loss during the preoperative period was 47% for 49 working patients, which decreased to 26% 1 year after surgery. The total costs increased from US $20,451 in the preoperative year to US $24,374 in the postoperative year. This resulted in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of US $25,370 per quality-adjusted life year for surgery compared with that for simulated nonsurgical management.


      The calculated incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was clearly below the suggested Swiss threshold of US $92,000, indicating that thumb carpometacarpal surgery is a cost-effective intervention.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Economic and Decision Analyses II.

      Key words

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