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General Orthopaedics


The Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA) and Canadian Orthopaedic Research Society (CORS) Annual General Meeting, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, 8–11 June 2022. Part 1 of 2.


Primary hip and knee joint replacements in Canada have been estimated to cost over $1.4 billion dollars annually, with revision surgery costing $177 million. The most common cause of revision arthroplasty surgery in Canada is infection. Periprosthetic joint infections (PJIs) are a devastating though preventable complication following arthroplasty. Though variably used, antibiotic laden bone cement (ALBC) has been demonstrated to decrease PJIs following primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Unfortunately, ALBC is costlier than regular bone cement (RBC). Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine if the routine use of ALBC in primary TKA surgery is a cost-effective practice from the perspective of the Canadian healthcare system.

A decision tree was constructed using a decision analysis software (TreeAge Software, Williamstown, Massachusetts) to a two-year time horizon comparing primary TKA with either ALBC or RBC from the perspective of a single-payer healthcare system. All costs were in 2020 Canadian dollars. Health utilities were in the form of quality adjusted life years (QALYs). Model inputs for cost were derived from regional and national databases. Health utilities and probability parameters were derived from the latest literature. One-way deterministic sensitivity analysis was performed on all model parameters. The primary outcome of this analysis was an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) with a willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold of $50,000 per QALY.

Primary TKA with ALBC (TKA-ALBC) was found to be more cost-effective compared to primary TKA with RBC (TKA-RBC). More specifically, TKA-ALBC dominated TKA-RBC as it was less costly on the long term ($11,160 vs. $11,118), while providing the same QALY (1.66). The ICER of this cost-utility analysis (CUA) was $-11,049.72 per QALY, much less than the WTP threshold of $50,000 per QALY. The model was sensitive to costs of ALBC-TKA as well as the probability of PJI following ALBC-TKA and RBC-TKA. ALBC ceased to be cost effective once the cost of ALBC was greater than $223.08 CAD per bag of cement.

The routine use of ALBC in primary TKA is a cost-effective practice in the context of the Canadian healthcare system as long as the cost of ALBC is maintained at a reasonable price and the published studies to-date keep supporting the efficacy of ALBC in decreasing PJI following primary TKA. Further, this analysis is very conservative, and ALBC is likely much more cost-effective than presented. This is due to this model's revision surgery cost parameter being based on the average cost of all revision TKA surgery in Canada, regardless of etiology. Considering many PJIs require two-stage revisions, the cost parameter used in this analysis for revision surgery is an underestimate of true cost. Ultimately, this is the first cost-effectiveness study evaluating this topic from the perspective of the Canadian healthcare system and can inform future national guidelines on the subject matter.