Simulated Bundled Payments for 4 Common Surgical Approaches to Treat Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: A Consideration to Break the Clinical Equipoise

Nikhil Jain, Mayur Sharma, Dengzhi Wang, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Doniel Drazin, Maxwell Boakye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Objective: The aim was to compare 90-day and 2-year reimbursements for ≥2-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (mACDF), anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion (ACCF), posterior laminectomy and fusion (LF) and laminoplasty (LP) done for degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM). Summary of Background Data: In DCM pathologies where there exists a clinical equipoise in approach selection, a randomized controlled trial found that an anterior approach did not significantly improve patient-reported outcomes over posterior approaches. In the era of value and bundled payments initiatives, cost profile of various approaches will form an important consideration for decision making. Materials and Methods: IBM MarketScan Research Database (2005-2018) was used to study beneficiaries (30-75 y) who underwent surgery (mACDF, ACCF, LF, LP) for DCM. Index hospital stay (operating room, surgeon, hospital services) and postdischarge inpatient, outpatient and prescription medication payments have been used to simulate 90-day and 2-year bundled payment amounts, along with their distribution for each procedure. Results: A total of 10,834 patients with median age of 54 years were included. The median 90-day payment was $46,094 (interquartile range: $34,243-$65,841) for all procedures, with LF being the highest ($64,542) and LP the lowest ($37,867). Index hospital was 62.4% (operating room: 46.6) and surgeon payments were 17.5% of the average 90-day bundle. There was significant difference in the index, 90-day and 2-year reimbursements and their distribution among procedures. Conclusion: In a national cohort of patients undergoing surgery for DCM, LP had the lowest complication rate, and simulated bundled reimbursements at 90 days and 2 years postoperatively. The lowest quartile 90-day payment for LF was more expensive than median amounts for mACDF, ACCF, and LP. If surgeons encounter scenarios of clinical equipoise in practice, LP is likely to result in maximum value as it is on an average 70% less expensive than LF over 90 days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E636-E642
JournalClinical spine surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • cervical myelopathy
  • clinical equipoise
  • common surgical approaches
  • payments


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