Researchers obtained and compared the hospital purchasing records from 45 academic medical centers on the unit costs and volume of spinal products in a study presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
The products included pedicle screws (PS), anterior cervical plates (ACP) and posterior interbody cages, which were purchased from a total of seven vendors.
Among the results:
- PS had a mean cost of $878, with a range of $400 to $1,843 per patient;
- ACP had a mean cost of $1,068, with a range of $540 to $2,388; and,
- cages, $2,975, with a range of $938 to $7,200
For every additional implant component purchased, the unit price was reduced by $.29, $4.33 and $6.86 for PS, ACP and cages, respectively.
A significant relationship exists between a lower unit cost of implants and the purchase of a larger number of components. The authors suggest that greater transparency, as well as a more coordinated implant selection and purchase process, that includes the surgeon, hospital and manufacturer, could reduce the wide variation in component cost, and contribute to overall lower health care expenditures.