Shoulder surgery may make sense for young patients

July 12, 2013, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Arthroscopic bankart repair surgery is a cost-effective approach for patients suffering their first shoulder dislocation, according to research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL.

"We based our conclusions on a Markov model, which takes into account how surgery affects the patient's recovery in relation to the actual costs of ," commented Ryan P. Donegan, MD, MS, from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. "For surgery to be cost-effective in this model, expenses must be under $24,457, the probability of re-dislocation must be under 7 percent, and the quality of life rating must not fall below 0.86. Our research showed surgical costs of $11,267, probability of re-dislocation at only 4 percent and quality of life rating of 0.93 – numbers suggesting surgery is a good investment for these patients."

Researchers drew data from literature reporting on first-time shoulder-repair arthroscopies in patients 15-35 years old, as well as a 50-patient survey approved by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center's Institutional Review Board.

"Shoulder dislocations are one of the most common orthopaedic issues today, and our research shows that – after weighing all the options – surgery can be both helpful to the recovery process and cost-effective," noted Donegan.

Researchers note that non-operative treatment based on rest and physical therapy should still be considered an effective for patients.

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