Making Dollars and "Sense" of ACL SurgeryChoosing between types of medical treatments requires a careful look at which treatments are most cost-effective. The yardstick to measure whether a treatment is cost-effective has to do with quality of life and the costs to achieve it.
Not everyone with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) requires surgery. But people who participate in high-level recreation and sports activities usually believe that that their quality of life would be poor if a knee problem kept them from taking part in the sports they enjoy. While surgery for a torn ACL can be expensive, it can help young, active patients remain active. In this respect, ACL surgeries for many young, active people make sense--the surgery is cost-effective.
Cost-effectiveness is also influenced by the overall results of treatment. Doctors rely on various tests to measure the outcomes of surgery. Treatment results are also determined by how well a person is able to function with activity. When people can better participate in their regular activities, they feel a greater sense of well-being and satisfaction--important ingredients of a successful treatment outcome. As technology advances and as doctors learn new and better ways to do ACL surgery, these outcomes will improve. As a result, it is likely that ACL surgery will continue to become even more cost-effective.
Charles A. Gottlob, MD & Champ L. Baker, Jr., MD. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: Socioeconomic Issues and Cost Effectiveness. In The American Journal of Orthopedics. June 2000. Vol. 29. No. 6. Pp. 472-476.
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