"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 medical treatment," 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 treatment option for patients.