Cost Comparison of Botulinum Toxin Injections Versus Surgical Treatment in Pediatric Patients With Cerebral Palsy: A Markov Model

Gregory S. Kazarian, Ann E. Van Heest, Charles A. Goldfarb, Lindley B. Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the cost-effectiveness of surgical release to botulinum toxin injections in the treatment of upper-extremity (UE) cerebral palsy (CP). Methods: A Markov transition-state model was developed to assess the direct and indirect costs as well as accumulated quality-adjusted life-years associated with surgery (surgery group) and continuous botulinum toxin injections (botulinum group) for the treatment of UE CP in children aged 7 to 12 years. Direct medical costs were obtained from institutional billing departments. The number of parental missed workdays associated with each treatment was estimated and previously published regressions were used to calculate indirect costs associated with missed work. Total costs, cost-effectiveness, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were calculated. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios and willingness to pay thresholds were used to make decisions regarding society's willingness to pay for the incremental cost of each treatment given the incremental benefit. Results: The surgery group demonstrated lower direct, indirect, and total costs compared with the botulinum group. Direct costs were $29,250.50 for the surgery group and $50,596.00 for the botulinum group. Indirect costs were $9,467.46 for the surgery group and $44,428.60 for the botulinum group. Total costs were $38,717.96 for the surgery group and $95,024.60 for the botulinum group, a difference of $56,306.64. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was –$42,019.88, indicating that surgery is a less costly and more effective treatment and that botulinum injections fall outside the societal willingness to pay threshold. Excluding indirect costs associated with parental missed work during home occupational therapy did not have a significant impact on the model. Conclusions: Surgery is associated with lower direct, indirect, and total costs, as well as a greater number of accumulated quality-adjusted life-years. Surgery provides a greater benefit at a lower cost, which suggests that botulinum injections should be used sparingly in this population. Treatment with surgery could represent savings of $5.6 to $11.3 billion annually in the United States. Type of study/level of evidence: Economic/Decision Analysis II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-367
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Volume46
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Society for Surgery of the Hand

Keywords

  • Botulinum
  • Markov model
  • cerebral palsy
  • cost analysis

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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